Using Civil Disobedience in the Climate Justice Movement – Zac Lumley

Using Civil Disobedience in the Climate Justice Movement – Zac Lumley

By Ceara Carney

Zac is an activist with a number of climate action groups. Most recently, he and another activist, Orla Murphy, were arrested and imprisoned for a protest at Iveagh House in Dublin. As Orla was still in prison at the time of this recording, I interviewed Zac to hear his story and the place of civil disobedience in the climate justice movement. Orla has since been released on the 22nd of April after spending over a month there. You can still write to Orla at and hopefully I'll have her on the podcast in future.

If you're interested in getting involved with Extinction Rebellion Ireland, there's a new members meeting happening tomorrow (4th of May 2021, 7pm GMT) that you're welcome to come along to. Hosted by yours truly! Keep an eye out for upcoming events for XRI here, or on your local groups website. And if you son't have a local direct action group, you can set one up!

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We covered:

[07:00] Getting to know Zac.[11:40] When Zac began getting more active in climate action.[14:05] When Zac went vegan.[15:20] What is Civil Disobediance?[20:30] Is destruction of property violent or non violent?[24:00] The first time Zac got arrested / Kepak protest.[29:00] Why do people put themselves in a position where they know thwy'll likely be arressted[34:20] The action on the 19th of March where Zac and Orla were arrested.[40:10] Zac's experience in prison.[42:00] Orla's words from prison.[49:30] Reactions to the protest.[56:30] How many people do we need partaking in civil disobedience to get the job done?[01:06:30] Random Questions!

Recommended literature:

Erica Chenoweth & Maria J. Stephan Stefan - Why Civil Resistance Works.Civil Resistance and Power Politics by Adam Roberts & Timothy Garton Ash.Gene Sharp (Author, here's a link to his books).


1-3 billion people are expected to be forced from homes within the next 50 years. [1]

200+ indigenous land protectors are murdered every year trying to protect their land and water. [2]

We're headed for +4°C of global heating (some publications this year are suggesting +5° and +6°C [3][4]) — +4°C is "incompatible with an organised global community" and likely to be "beyond adaptation". [5]

Island nations call for "1.5 to stay alive" and in 2009 at G77 Lumumba Di-Aping said that the new climate draft trying to limit warming to +2°C was "certain death for Africa". [6][7]

When the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 (non-binding, remember), countries said they'd try to limit warming to +2°C. However, even if every country met their climate agreements that they set for themselves (NDCs), we're headed for more than +3°C. [8] Despite this, countries aren't even hitting their climate targets! [9]

We've currently warmed the planet somewhere between +1.1°C and +1.3°C. [10] We're currently at an extremely crucial point, as we're in the danger zone at which irreversible climate tipping points could be triggered: some may lie between +1°C and +2°C [11]. Obviously because the risk is so great we have to follow the precautionary principle, meaning that we must absolutely everything we can to halt emissions immediately. Even if we halted greenhouse gas emissions today, heating will continue for decades or even centuries. [4]

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