Far from being a ‘toxic, manipulative, cult’, Extinction Rebellion is global movement of ordinary people who love life and believe it is worth fighting for, a respected local activist says.
Murray Dreschler was responding to an attack on the group by former member Sherrie Yoemans, who left the Byron Bypass blockade earlier this week.
After walking away from the group – which continues to fight the bypass – Ms Yoemans said she could no longer accept its ‘unacceptable, toxic, manipulative behaviour’.
Mr Dreschler, who has recently joined Extinction Rebellion, said the group was disappointed but would continue to fight on.
‘Campaigns like the bypass campaign bring lots of people together who come from different backgrounds and have different opinions about things,’ he said.
‘And when we find ourselves in stressful and difficult situations on the frontline, it’s sometimes the case that conflict or disagreements arise.
‘It’s unfortunate in this instance that one of those disagreements led to Sherrie leaving the group.
‘Sherrie is a good and talented activist and we wish her all the best.’
Rather than being a group which is ‘run’ or ‘coordinated’ by any individual, Mr Dreschler said that Extinction Rebellion was a global movement involving hundreds of thousands of people across the globe united by the principle that urgent action is needed to save all the species of the planet, including humans, from extinction.
‘It’s run according to the concept of a “holacracy” – which means that decision-making is distributed throughout self-organising teams rather a management hierarchy.’
The Byron Bypass blockade was made up of people who had ‘put their lives on hold for the sake of the planet’.
‘Why does a council that accepts that there’s a climate emergency want to build a bypass in a swamp that, the way we’re heading, is likely to be under water in 10 years?’ he said.
‘And why do it in an area where there’s critically endangered species?’
‘That’s why we’re doing this.’