A global environmental movement named Extinction Rebellion has sprung up in the last couple of years with the aim of using nonviolent civil disobedience to bring about government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss and the risk of social and ecological collapse.
Extinction Rebellion were formed in May 2018 and have engaged in various blockage protests at prominent sites in London designed to disrupt ‘business as usual’. The grassroots movement hope to rally support worldwide around a common sense of urgency to tackle climate breakdown and the ongoing sixth mass extinction. A number of activists in the movement accept arrest and imprisonment, similar to the mass arrest tactics of the Committee of 100 in 1961.
The purpose of the Whittenbury Watch isn’t to applaud or condemn such actions, merely report events that relate to those within The Earth Emperor’s Eye. Firstly, the movement uses a stylised, circled hourglass, known as the extinction symbol, to serve as a warning that time is rapidly running put for many species.
It’s an interesting choice because in The Earth Emperor’s Eye, the Earth Emperor measures his countdown Live or Let Die challenge using an identical sand-filled hourglass. In the tale, the aspiring Nature’s Champion, Ben Whittenbury, also uses the hourglass as a symbolic way of demonstrating that time is now of the essence.
There are other similarities between the groups actions and those within the tale.
The use of RED symbology and a raised fist to call for action.
Mother Nature personified to demonstrate her perilous predicament.
A ship… to illustrate our potential fate.
Hand prints on walls… like those with the Royston Cave
And finally, a video of a recent protest in Cambridge, featuring many of the Watch themes, including hands on walls, Mother Nature at the mercy of a cruel Grim Dread, drummers leading a procession and more. It’s all very theatrical… life is imitating art!