XR The Big One - London 2023

On Friday 21 April 2023, the Extinction Rebellion began their four-day takeover of Westminster and key London locations, drawing tens of thousands of people from all walks of life and cultures to collaborate on their urgent climate change messages. Among the sea of activists were individuals and groups with unique messages, all united by a central theme of fighting for the planet’s survival. As a documentary photographer, I spent six hours immersed in the vibrant crowd, moving from location to location, taking in the kaleidoscope of smiling faces and the rainbow of colors that adorned the streets.

Reflecting on this powerful event, I am reminded of a quote by Margaret Mead, an American cultural anthropologist: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” The overwhelming sense of global community was palpable, particularly at the community feeding stations, where an amazing pungent curry was served free of charge to all who needed sustenance. Although it remains to be seen whether this event will inspire lasting change, it undoubtedly brought together many people for a few days, inspiring hope for a better future.

Daz Smith, 22 April 2023.