XR Community Support During the Coronavirus Pandemic

"Getting through coronavirus will be an exercise not just in building societal resilience, but relearning the values of cooperation, compassion, generosity and kindness, and building systems which institutionalize these values." - Dr Nafeez Ahmed (https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/coronavirus-synchronous-failure-and-the-global-phase-shift-3f00d4552940)

OK folks, this thing looks like it could go on a while. :hourglass_flowing_sand:

I’m starting this thread so we can share ideas on how to use the XR networks we’ve worked so hard to build to support our local communities and keep people safe during this unprecedented time.

If you have any ideas, things you’re doing already, or things you’ve seen others do that XR could should follow then this is the place to share them! :mega: :mega: :mega:

Let’s use this as an opportunity to bring some :sun_with_face: light :sun_with_face: to the dark situation that we are facing. Let’s give people a taste of exactly how things will be different when we demolish this toxic system. :muscle:t2: :muscle:t3: :muscle:t4: :muscle:t5: :muscle:t6:


Changed the title slightly because it was a bit nonspecific (like the Coronavirus and XR topic)

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Copying this over from the Coronavirus and XR topic as it’s about XR UK’s Coronavirus Community Action

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Dear Rebels

There are no doubt many who are shocked by the speed and scale of change going on as a result of the current Coronairus pandemic. The situation calls for returning to our core purpose - we must remember our goal of a better world, fit for a prosperous future for many generations to come. And we must consider how to act appropriately towards this goal in our current context.

I will be hosting a zoom call tomorrow evening (wednesday) to discuss rebellion in a time of Coronavirus, so that we can come together, take stock, and proceed appropriately. All are welcome, please share widely.


Brisbane: 5pm
Sydney / Melbourne: 6pm
Adelaide: 5:30pm
Perth: 2pm

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 525 626 7272

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+61370182005,5256267272# Australia
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Dial by your location
+61 3 7018 2005 Australia
+61 8 7150 1149 Australia
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Meeting ID: 525 626 7272
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aAjrHRhj1

Some of the XR UK people are maintaining this unofficial guide to self-organizing community support during COVID which is gold.

Anyone interested in organizing some community action / mutual aid look here:


Share it far and wide.

Here’s a longer list of ways people can help.


My rough notes from this small group discussion:

  • The pandemic presents an opportunity to change image of XR by supporting people in time of crisis

    • Its the right thing to do
    • Also happens to be a really good strategy for building local connections and unity to also tackle broader climate emergency together
    • We’re about system change not just climate change
  • Establish mutual aid informal networks

    • UK - Taking off XR badge and doing it as everyday people
    • Focus first on mutual aid
    • This will build better community and social connection in the world in the long run
    • Groups are available to join
    • Telegram - app (in UK). Share a link to join a channel
    • Facebook groups swap of trade things to get what they need.
    • “Canberra coronavirus mutual aid” has lots of examples
    • Skeleton of XR helps (being decentralised)
    • People are sometime reluctant
    • Getting home deliveries
  • e.g. WHO recommendation - how you can make your own hand sanitiser. Made 3-4L

    • Group you can call out to
    • Digital local community network
    • Buy nothing facebook

-Adopt a ‘healthcare worker’ in WA to support them in what they need - would be good to expand

  • Looking after kids etc.

  • It’s essentially shifting community town hall into an online platform

    • Idea - encouraging individually to engage in their own context, good karma network
    • Create on zoom with your street, tapping into XR network to share problems you can’t solve
  • Creating things or spaces for skill-sharing /online/ youtube channel - and using the relevant local groups to get information out

  • Stencils marks with XR logo

  • Helping small things getting to people

  • Letter box drops

  • People willing to help people who have technological difficulties

  • Planting food to share, guerrilla community gardening type action.

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What are people’s thoughts on us forming a fabric mask-making cell and distributing these throughout the community? The purpose and rationale as follows.

a) Support front-line health workers by providing an alternative to medical masks so people don’t buy and use up much-needed medical-grade N95 masks that are in too short supply for the doctors on the front-lines. I just spoke to a GP friend and they only have 20 N95 masks in their clinic of 6 doctors. They are meant to use a new mask every patient. I have seen messages from others I know that nurses in ICU treating Covid-19 patients have NO protective gear at all.

b) These masks will help people stop touching their face when out in public. Contagion mainly happens when people tough a surface contaminated with droplets, then their contaminated hands come in contact with their bodily fluids eg eyes, nose, mouth. If people wear these when in public then wash their hands (and the mask) as soon as they are home, they reduce the risk of infection. Every act helps but no single act is a silver bullet.

c) If someone is sick and sneezes or coughs with a mask on, fewer droplets will land on other people or surfaces. I spoke to a check-out worker at Aldi yesterday and asked how her day was. She said “ok, but someone just coughed all over me”.

d) They will send a clear visual signal that this is serious and we all need to take precautions. A lot of people are not taking this thing seriously enough.

What these masks won’t do is completely stop airborne transmission. Only staying away from other people will address this. They also shouldn’t be worn for long periods of time as breathing is more difficult and should be washed after returning home every time.

We could print XR logos on them, or some of them… Or not… Thoughts?

Negative press - esp if XR logo is on. eg Murdoch headline “Extinction rebellion selling fake masks, claims will save lives” or “Extinction Rebellion contaminates community with infected masks” etc. Would need to work with / speak with media and messaging crew to manage this.

Either send bundles to XR local groups who organise their own distribution or we focus on the wider community. Not sure how…

TO RISKY? Alternately, we could run a social media campaign how to make your own and why to wear them. (I did purchase loads of material though in case we do look at making them and distributing)



Hi Jodi,

I really like this.

I think as long as our messaging was really explicit if we send out the masks, post about them on our social media channels or anything else - about exactly what these masks can and cannot help with - then it should be OK. They might still have a go at us, but it’s not like they really need an excuse.

The distribution aspect is a built difficult considering all XR meetings are Zoom based at the moment, but I’m sure if we had a bunch of masks we could work it out.

Interested to hear what others think?

Hi all,

XR Westside in Melbourne have been out and about with the chalk paint spreading some postive messaging about dealing with the pandemic.

I think this is great. Especially this example of positive/supportive messaging right now. There is other messaging being used but I can’t recall what they were. At this phase, I’d personally be reluctant to go with any fear-based messaging (like we’ve used around the CE to try and snap people out of their apathy) because people are prob scared enough already, so I wouldn’t want to add to their mental load. But there may be a gentler way to link coronavirus response to the lack or a response to the CE, if not right now then in the near future.

This is something that can easily be done by any group anywhere, and although it’s only a little thing , I think seeing positive messaging that reflects cooperation, compassion and community can only be a good thing.

Hannah from XR Forests also mentioned in a people’s assembly in Vic yesterday that we should try and target places where people will still be going during social distancing/lockdowns eg. walls near essential services like supermarkets and pharmacists.

What do think about this?.. What other positive messaging could we use?.. Might be worth touching base with the state’s respective media and messaging team to see if they’re thinking about messaging that could work here?


Love that message and agree. " positive messaging that reflects cooperation, compassion and community can only be a good thing".

I see so many opportunities to reach out, grow our support base and switch people on to the connection between all of us, our planet, our economy and justice. Now is the time to sow the seeds, people are listening.

Imagine if we distributed masks to all the people waiting CLOSE to eachotehr in lines outside Centrelink? And the masks had this message tied to them?


And I’ve set up this group to help support mask-making efforts and distribution. Please join if you are interested in helping out in some way? And let us know if you hear of health workers, clinics or community centers (crisis centers for the homeless?) in need of masks. https://www.facebook.com/groups/203848507559337/

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Idea: Renegade vege patches on verges. Esp fast growing plants like lettuce and silverbeet. Will help foster sense of community which will grow our movement, and will address any problems with the supply chain that may come down the line.


A good list of what to plant now…


Is anyone interested in organising viral kindness groups?

Get Up are running a webinar tonight on this.It’s worth signing up, even if you can’t attend as that way you will receive the video.

I think it’s better to link up with the broader movement on general community support during the pandemic, rather than trying to organise a separate set of XR initiatives. But supporting rebels during this difficult period remains an important responsibility that only XR can perform.

This is the invitation:
Hi folks, love to you all in the time of Corona & endless zoom calls!

Some of you will have heard me flag this in various zoom chats this week - we’re hosting a webinar this Monday with people who’ve been doing mutual aid work in their communities, for our members and anyone else who’s keen to set up a group in their neighborhood.

When : Monday Mar 30 7pm AEST (if you can’t make this time just sign up anyway and you’ll be sent the link to the recording of the session)

Who : anyone who wants to start a local mutual aid group or learn more about doing this work well

What : A crowdcast webinar - we’ll have #viralkindness group leaders sharing their stories and insights, health tips on how to do this work safely, a how-to session on setting up and maintaining new groups, and a run-through of some tools we’ve created to make it easy

Crises like this bring out the best and the worst in people. We’re already seeing stories of the far-right deliberately stoking fear and hatred in this moment. Showing up in our communities at this difficult time is one of the most powerful things we can do right now to build the trusting, collaborative, generous communities and relationships on which all our other work depends.

Big congrats to every one of you who’s already out doing this! And if you already have a group, don’t forget to list it on viralkindness.org.au and helpfulneighbours.com.au

See you on another zoom soon! xxxMim.

Miriam Lyons | Organising Director | GetUp!

I quickly put up a wiki page (based mostly on this flyer from XR UK https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12rECIav1Cqef1ezexkLRNKnMRH72hrhp) to help people build community networks and messaging groups.
It might be useful for consolidating ideas and keeping track of things. It’s freely editable and could do with a bit of fleshing out, for anyone interested.

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