City, News

Die-In Protesters Stop Traffic and Demand Climate Action at Government Center

XR die in
An activist lies on the ground with a sign reading, “We’re out of time.” Extinction Rebellion, a climate change activist group, hosted a “die-in” on Cambridge Street on Sept. 20. ZIYU (JULIAN) ZHU/DFP STAFF

Members of climate action group Extinction Rebellion Boston laid down in the middle of Cambridge Street pretending to be dead and blocked cars from Tremont Street on Tuesday. 

Protestors held gravestones with messages such as “Our Future R.I.P” and “Extinction is Forever” and waved colorful flags outside the Government Center MBTA stop. This “die-in” protest was one of many events in XR’s “Week of Rebellion,” which began on Sept. 17. 

XR’s media coordinator Jamie McGonagill said die-in protests are “a way of showing and demonstrating the massive death that is happening on our planet because of climate change.” 

Alex Chambers, a direct action organizer for XR, also spoke about the purpose of the die-in.

“We’re out on the streets to say we need the government to act,” Chambers said. “We’ve tried all the conventional change making approaches … so we’re getting into the streets, and we’re disrupting business as usual.” 

According to a spokesperson from the Mayor’s Office of Environment, Energy, and Open Space, buildings account for a large portion of Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions, and as such, the city now has the ability “to set emissions standards for large existing buildings.” 

The City has a goal of becoming carbon neutral by the year 2050, according to the city’s website.

Additionally the City’s Heat Plan sets up a blueprint for the city to address summers with temperatures that are hotter than usual, “with particular focus on Boston’s environmental justice neighborhoods,” wrote the spokesperson. 

Fossil fuel infrastructure, such as the Peabody Peaker Plant — a new municipal light plant the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company will begin using in June 2023 — is what brought a number of activists to the protest. 

“Our town basically is buying an oil and gas facility … in an era when we know fossil fuels are killing us, they’re killing our planet,” protestor Judith Black said.

Jenny Allen, who has been a member of XR “since it got to Boston,” said cities need to “stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure” and “focus on renewable energy.”

McGonagill said she hopes the movement will spread through word of mouth.

“I think the reality is that this particular protest will have almost no impact, but I think that a hundred of these might, and I think we can’t get to a hundred of them without doing this one,” she said. 

Allen said the police “have actually been supportive in a way.” 

“I mean, we’re doing it for them, for you, for everybody,” Allen said. “It’s not something we’re just doing for ourselves. It’s for all human beings.”

Several protestors were arrested on Wednesday morning for blocking traffic at Tremont Street in a separate XR protest “Stop Fossil Fuels Morning Rebellion.”

Comments are closed.