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Byron Shire
April 13, 2021

Extinction Rebellion: we’re ordinary people who believe life is worth fighting for

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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.’

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  1. I love this stuff.

    Ms Yeomans drives a gas guzzling made in America jeep with a big six cylinder petrol engine to her protests. Her business model is about carting heavy stone and slate around the planet in big trucks etc (have a look on FB). What Byron does not need is a huge queue of motor vehicles sitting idling and belching out CO2 etc in the middle of the community every morning and evening as people try to get around. Putting a long overdue bypass around the CBD is the lesser of 2 evils IMHO. (by the way, the train is never coming back)

    Climate change is a compelling problem. But until people like our protesters accept a carbon tax on their way of life and find petrol at $5.00 a litre to cut their driving Byron needs a bypass.

    It could also be a good thing if jet fuel was triple the price so people from our postcode could not flit off to Bali for the week for $499.

    • Simple Simon if you want to look people up on FB and then publicly share personal information how about you have the guts to show your face on your FB page. I won’t bother replying regarding supplying the most environmentally friendly solar passive interior/exterior products on the planet. I totally agree we should all stop flying & driving vehicles that use petrol, hence the sticker on my car that says “My next car will run on batteries”.This isn’t about different opinions but about unacceptable behaviour that is not addressed. They still can’t seem to hear that. Well over this entire saga. Extinction Rebellion be gone! And XR member Paul Bibby at least get my name right.

  2. Rebellion’s only doing what it set out to do &
    does not deserve to be called ‘toxic’ etc.
    There’s always got to be a naysayer trying
    to cause doubt. It’s a combo of Lateral
    Violence & Stonewalling [in its original
    sense.] Move on. A lot of real commitment
    needs to be done.

  3. Its only called a bypass. Council has Adopted to extend the CBD’s commercial zoning to Buttler St, and a multi story apartment development is still on Councils books for the Buttler St Reserve – a bypass down a town centre CBD commercial street? The electric train is in existence and Council has just had a report on extending the train for far less cost than the State Gov report. The train is coming back.

  4. Many activist groups are good at pretending they adhere to non hierarchical structures but in most cases it’s just a way of manipulating the group and individuals. My experience in activism in the past has left me unable to join in because the far left is just as fundamentalist as the far right. Opposite sides of the same politics and leaves us unable to solve anything. Instead of denial Mr dreschler could have been more open and inclusive. I have no doubt Sherrie’s experience is valid as I am now done getting involved in protest movements due to the bullshit they tell themselves 🙁

  5. You are quite right, Jac. There is no difference between a Fascist and a Socialist. Once the Green Left preached ” tolerance, respect and inclusivity” but they have gazed into the abyss far too long and have become that which they hated. Now they only ” tolerate, respect and include” those who agree with them. Everyone else is a bigot, hater, misogynist, Nazi or whatever other foul adjective they are able to spell.


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