"Human Pollution Is Causing Mass Extinction" — Climate Activists Protest at the Museum of Natural History and Guggenheim


Nov. 21 2023, Published 1:34 p.m. ET

People around the world are hearing the message about climate change, thanks to environmental activist groups committed to spreading the word. One well-known activist group, Extinction Rebellion, was busy in November 2023, as its demonstrators staged climate protests two days in a row at two famous New York City museums.

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Extinction Rebellion, which exists to shine a light on the urgency of the climate crisis and believes governments are failing the planet, protested at both the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History — with several protesters ultimately being arrested for their disruptions. Here are all the details of both climate protests.

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Extinction Rebellion protested in front of a dinosaur skeleton at the American Museum of Natural History.

On Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, Extinction Rebellion hosted an environmental protest at the American Museum of Natural History on Manhattan's Upper West Side. This protest was described as a "die-in," with participants lying on the museum's lobby floor, just in front of the famed Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, The New York Post explained.

At some points, they spoke of the dinosaurs' extinction and warned that humanity is next: "Human pollution is causing mass extinction."

The Art Newspaper reported that speakers talked about the climate crisis in front of the Barosaurus skeleton, where other protesters lay as though dead.

As the demonstration went on — it lasted for several hours — the XR protesters shared facts about mass extinction with anyone who would listen.

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After the protest, XR's Instagram account proudly stated that "Rebels shut down the Museum of Natural History."

In that post, Extinction Rebellion also said that in response to the protest, the museum staff began allowing visitors to enter quickly, without having to wait in line or pay for tickets. "They were quickly ushered in the museum, preventing them from hearing our message," stated the post.

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In a post on X (aka Twitter), Extinction Rebellion wrote: "The #AMNH exhibits are outdated and does not align well with the urgent #biodiversity loss and #ecological crisis that we are in. We must #ActNow!"

The organization added on Instagram: "We demand that museums use their resources and influential positions to support people's assemblies, a way to create fair and equitable solutions to the #climatecatastrophe."

A total of 13 people were arrested for their participation at the demonstration, per The New York Post.

The following day, Extinction Rebellion staged another protest, at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

On Sunday, Nov. 19, Extinction Rebellion activists held a protest at the Guggenheim, a famous art museum on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

During the protest, the participants hung signs from the Guggenheim's famous spiral ramps reading "No art on a dead planet" and "Extinction Rebellion" from the railings at the museum, as seen in videos of the demonstration. They also chanted as they displayed their banners.

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“This city runs entirely on fossil fuels. It will not work in the future planet unless we begin changing,” stated one protester, The New York Post reported.

According to an Instagram post by Extinction Rebellion, museums like the Guggenheim have a responsibility to support groups that teach others about the climate crisis. The organization linked to its demand letter, which urges cultural institutions like art museums to "inform and engage the public on the defining issue of our time: the climate and ecological crisis."

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Extinction Rebellion is always staging new peaceful protests in various locations, and those interested in joining a protest or other activism may sign up for more information on XR's website.

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