‘The crisis is now’: Activists plan dramatic readings of climate change report

  • Members of the Red Brigade performance troupe of Extinction Rebellion move up the steps of Springfield City Hall during the fourth annual Pioneer Valley Women’s March in January 2020. The Red Brigade is expected to attend a standout in Amherst, one of three being planned across the Pioneer Valley to increase public awareness of the latest climate change report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. Staff File Photo/Kevin Gutting

Staff Writer
Published: 10/29/2021 6:15:46 PM

In an effort to increase public awareness of the latest climate change report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, a group of local activists will be hosting three public, dramatic readings of the document in locations across the Pioneer Valley.

“The idea is to get on an actual soapbox and read from the IPCC report … which a lot of people aren’t even familiar with,” said Extinction Rebellion Western Mass member Don Ogden, who lives in Leverett. “That’s the idea, to do outreach to the community.”

The IPCC is the body of the United Nations responsible for assessing the science related to climate change.

The first of the standouts is scheduled to take place at Pulaski Park in Northampton on Sunday at 1 p.m. A standout in Greenfield has been rescheduled to take place Saturday, Nov. 6, at 11 a.m. on the Greenfield Common.

The location for a standout at noon on Sunday, Nov. 7, in Amherst has yet to be determined.

At each “Read Out/Die In” event, a group of activists will take turns reading a page or two from the IPCC report, then lying down on the grass to “die,” according to an Extinction Rebellion Western Mass press release. Participants are encouraged to wear black or costumes of mourning.

Ogden said the number of participants will likely vary depending on the day.

“Extinction Rebellion has a core group of over a dozen people, and then there’s the Red Brigade, which is the theatrical contingent, and they can go anywhere from a handful to about 30 folks,” he said.

The timing of the four events aligns with COP26, a two-week climate change conference taking place in Glasgow beginning Oct. 31.

Ogden, who said he has been involved in climate change activism for decades, is also the producer of The Enviro Show on WXOJ-LP Valley Free Radio in Florence.

“It’s like we say on the show all the time,” he said, “the crisis is now, and we’re running out of time.”

More information about the Read Out/Die In events can be found at xrwesternmass.org.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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