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WATCH: Kicked Out of a Climate Rally

Face to face with the apocalyptic environmentalists of Extinction Rebellion, Ben Kawaller asks: “Is there a fear that you might look a bit silly?”

I spent a chilly Sunday afternoon in April trying to interview members of the New York City chapter of the international environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion, or “XR.” Known for their disruptive tactics, the activists may be familiar to readers for their recent disruptions to a Broadway play, the U.S. Open, and the flow of traffic

On the day I tried to engage with them, XR had set up shop on the steps of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, for whom they had a series of demands

I had questions—largely centered on why, given a supposed need for global action, the group was so set on stunts that seem to turn the public against their cause. I also wanted to know why the orientation materials for a group ostensibly out to save all of humanity were so focused on countering “white supremacy” and “colonialism.” Lots of people care about climate change; had these guys given up entirely on the normies who don’t take for granted that the United States is the sister organization of the KKK?

Sadly, I did not get much chance to hash it out with XR at the museum, as my attempts to engage were repeatedly stymied by the apparent leader of the brigade, who determined, not without justification, that I was “not an ally.” 

So I headed to Brooklyn, having seen on the group’s events calendar an environmentalist street fair in Bushwick happening that same afternoon, where I had more success in finding people who were willing to let me shake my fist and engage in something like good-faith debate.

Watch Ben’s pre-apocalyptic dispatch here:

If you like what you see, watch Ben’s dispatch from West Hollywood: “The California Progressives Trying to Cancel Affordable Housing.” You can also learn more about “Ben Meets America!” 

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