A former Extinction Rebellion (XR) spokesperson, Zion Lights, has come out against the radical climate group in a tell-all article.
The piece explains that XR, under former leader Roger Hallam, operated more like a cult organization, brainwashing young people into blind obedience, than an environmental non-profit.
As reported by the Free Press:
“Nonetheless, people, especially women, clamored over him.
“That’s because Roger knows his followers—mostly young men and women—feel immense guilt about their carbon-heavy lifestyles. He preys on their guilt and their anxiety about the future. You could almost describe Roger as the leader of a cult.
“For any cult to work it needs to offer salvation. Roger offers that, plus a sense of purpose and belonging to the young people who flock to him.
“‘I won’t live to be thirty,’ youth members would tell me. I tried to convince them they would live, but they were already under Roger’s spell.”
Hallam has been expelled from XR after extreme stunts like shutting down the London Tube, but now runs the radical Just Stop Oil group, which has wealthy backers like director Adam McKay and Rory Kennedy.
Zion Lights also outlined XR’s propaganda techniques for media interviews, where she was used as a mom to illicit greater feelings of fear and guilt on television.
“My days were spent writing for the national press, feeding journalists quotes and information, and editing our newspaper, The Hourglass. The people I worked with had big hearts and good intentions. Some are still my friends.
“But there were red flags.
“At my first XR media training, I was instructed to cry on television. ‘People need to see crying mothers,’ Jamie Kelsey-Fry, the trainer and longtime XR activist, told me. ‘They need to be woken up to what they should really care about.’ They asked if I’d bring my children to climate marches for the same reason. The whole thing was a masterclass on how to manipulate emotions. We were instructed to bring everything back to the climate emergency and how politicians were failing us. Nothing about solutions or science.”
While Zion Lights is not a “climate skeptic” and still advocates for the replacement of fossil fuels, her advocacy represents rationale and an acknowledgement of scientific realities that is refreshing for a former climate activist.
“Here’s the truth: if we stopped using oil today, thousands of people would be thrust into an even worse energy crisis, and the wheels of society would stop turning. We do need to replace fossil fuels—but with real alternatives, not the radical erasure Roger wants.”
Her piece in the Free Press can be read in its entirety here.