York shoppers were confronted with a mass ‘die-in’ at the Designer Outlet this afternoon.
Campaigners from Extinction Rebellion York (XRY) staged the action to highlight what they deemed “the destructive effects of the fashion industry” – and the damage our consumerism is doing to the planet.
It is the second protest by XRY – in November they closed roads and bridges to draw attention to the imminent threat from climate change.
Merry Dickinson, co-coordinator of Extinction Rebellion York, said:
The fast fashion industry is symptomatic of a wider issue, that we live in a hyper-consumerist society that is based upon the exploitation of our planet and people.
We have a very limited amount of time left to act, and the fast fashion industry is entirely antithetical to that, and puts the future of humanity at risk through its never-ending pursuit of profit.
‘Day of awakening’
Members of the group held banners with slogans including ‘What’s the true cost’ and ‘Planet over profit’.
The campaigners drew attention to the demonstration with drums and cymbals. Speakers used loudhailers to tell shoppers of the dangers posed by consumerism – and the fashion industry in particular.
They say the fashion industry is the second most polluting after the oil industry, “and yet it continues to grow relatively unchallenged in the face of climate catastrophe”.
As London fashion week is about to begin, they wanted to draw attention to the harmful effects of fast fashion and show ordinary people that they do not have to support it, said Peter Jacobs of XRY.
“Today was a day of awakening for the people of York,” he said. “It was loud. It was unashamedly pro-planet. People stood up and took notice.”
The fast fashion industry is just one industry contributing to the climate crisis, said another of the movement’s coordinators, Mark Matthews. He said:
We are living in an age of climate emergency, and yet we continue to act as if nothing is wrong.
We call upon people to join our rebellion, as the people truly do have the power to create a better world that doesn’t lead to the destruction of society and the living planet.
They are looking to ramp up their actions.
A period of international rebellion is scheduled to begin on 15 April, and “XRY will be engaging in actions targeting York council leading up to this as part of our other demands to get the council to declare a climate emergency and commit to carbon neutrality”.