I am here with Extinction Rebellion
because our planet is dying
declare a climate emergency
On Wednesday August 14, Extinction Rebellion Chicago members converged on the Thompson Center to demand Governor Pritzker DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY. Our nonviolent protest included a prepared speech which was cut short due to overwhelming and disproportionate use of force by the police, a die-in, banners and chants. Melanie, who wrote and read the speech, was cuffed and detained but later released without charges.
melanie’s moving testimonial
Full text of Melanie’s speech:
Good morning, good people of Chicago, good people of Illinois, good people of this planet.
My name is Melanie, and I am here with Extinction Rebellion. We come today in peace. We are not here to harm you. Instead, we are here to warn you of harm to us all. We are here to warn you of the climate emergency our planet faces. We are here to demand that Governor Pritzker declare a climate emergency and act with the dire urgency we need to save ourselves from catastrophe.
Two years ago, in May of 2017, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. I was lucky, and got treatment, and am in remission. For many, having cancer and going into remission can cause deep anxiety. Will it return? Will they be able to treat it again? What if they can’t?
This is not my fear. My fear is of dying because our planet is dying. My fear is of my five year-old son dying too young because our planet is dying too young. My fear is that the politicians and the media and the CEOs and the extraordinarily wealthy will continue to ignore the defining crisis of all of human history. My fear is that those in power believe technology will save us, believe they can wait idly for it to arrive. My fear is that those in power will continue to exploit our natural resources as though they were infinite, as though those resources belong only to the wealthy, as though they can squander or hoard those resources while the rest of us perish. My fear is that frontline communities, who have borne the brunt of our greed, who have had to fight for every ounce of power they have earned will be the first to succumb to this devastation.
Geological time–the time it takes to move continents and make oceans, the time it takes for ice ages to form and recede–geological time is so long that it is very difficult to imagine that we humans can affect it. Geological time spreads out over millennia, over hundreds or thousands of generations. And yet, we humans have wrought such dramatic change on this planet that in less than two centuries, we have sped up geological time to human time.
In as few as two years, we may see the collapse of food systems on multiple continents at the same time. Within our lives, we will likely see thousands of miles of land turn into deserts or sink into oceans. Within our lives, we will likely see one quarter of the world face water shortages of catastrophic proportions. Within our lives, we will likely see the displacement of hundreds of millions of people.
We are the cancer I fear. We have created so much pollution, from carbon dioxide to plastic trash to heavy metals to pharmaceuticals, that we are on the verge of dying in our own toxic waste. We are on the verge of dying in our own toxic waste.
We are dying.
But we are not dead yet. We have a chance, a slim chance, to save ourselves. We must declare a climate emergency.
Fellow citizens, we of Extinction Rebellion are here to call on Governor JB Pritzker to declare a climate emergency. We are here to call on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to declare a climate emergency. We are here to call on President of the Cook County Board Toni Preckwinkle to declare a climate emergency. We are here to call on you, good people of Chicago, good people of Illinois,
good people of this planet to declare a climate emergency. Join us in the ultimate fight for all of our lives!
Hope is dead! But action begins!
Declare a climate emergency!