The Extinction Rebellion (XR) has been recently flooding the streets of Warsaw in protest of fossil fuel consumption. They’re easy to recognise – groups of teenagers sit in the middle of roads in the city centre, blocking oncoming cars and forcing passersbys to notice their signs. “I’m afraid to grow up on a dying planet” is written in blood-red font on a piece of cardboard, held by the girl from the picture.
Blockades force raging drivers to exclaim their annoyance with air-thrown fists, whilst helpless policemen sink into the everlasting ennui as they watch over the frail children positioned on the road.
The teenagers however, are powerful in their anger and to a great extent, correct in their fears. Since 1970, carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 90 percent, now exceeding any tolerable levels. The report ‘Existential Climate-Related Security Risk’, produced by an Australian think tank; the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, argues that by 2050 ‘thirty-five percent of the global land area, and 55 percent of the global population, are subject to more than 20 days a year of lethal heat conditions, beyond the threshold of human survivability’.
The urgency of the issue is apparent, but how to cure the tortured planet is not clear. The scared sitters offer an interesting approach – “I’m afraid” seems to be their only motto. Hand-held signs and Instagram posts are overwhelmed with a profuse fright, exclaiming volatile uncertainty for humanity’s survival. But what are they beyond fear? And is this fear powerful enough to raise awareness?