Here’s why Extinction Rebellion is Radiohead’s charity of choice

Melissa Locker

Radiohead got hacked, but they used it as an excuse to do a little good in the world. The band’s guitarist Jonny Greenwood posted on Instagram this morning that files from Radiohead’s early days were hacked from a minidisc archive belonging to Thom Yorke.

The hackers reportedly demanded a $150,000 ransom from the band to prevent them from releasing the material, but the band refused to budge. Instead, they decided to make the entire archive downloadable, at least for the next 18 days, for £18 (or about $23), with all proceeds going to the climate change protest group Extinction Rebellion.

So who is this group that is benefitting from Radiohead’s largesse? They are probably the most important climate activist group in the world right now—and the world needs all the climate activists it can get.

As the scientific warnings about the state of the world become louder and louder, Extinction Rebellion is leading a global movement to signal boost the alarm, tired of what Swedish teen activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg calls the “beautiful words and promises” made by the world’s governments. They use nonviolent, civil disobedience to draw attention to the fact that the climate emergency is very real and will dramatically affect the lives of your children and grandchildren. They are fighting to minimize the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse, or at least go down kicking and screaming at those in power who are too tired or stubborn or recalcitrant to do anything.

The group first rose to prominence when 6,000 people took over most of London’s major roads and bridges, bringing much of the city to a standstill for nearly two weeks while they drew attention to the climate emergency. Their first book, This Is Not a Drill, was just published by Penguin and features a dead, horizontal Penguin logo on the cover.

Then there’s the time they super-glued themselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace as they read a letter to the queen, begging for her to help them save the planet and helped organize a protest by a million schoolkids marching for their lives and their world. They’ve threatened to use drones to shut down Heathrow Airport and basically have proven themselves willing to do whatever it takes to get in the faces of the people in power who refuse to act on climate change.

At its core, Extinction Rebellion has three demands:

  1. Tell the truth. Governments must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Act now. Governments must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Beyond politics. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Extinction Rebellion thanked the band, describing its gift as “unprecedented support,” the Guardian reports.

Hopefully, thanks to Radiohead figuring out how to make something good out of a bad situation, Extinction Rebellion’s demands will be heard and perhaps even met, and their fight–our fight—can be louder, stronger, and even more in your face.