Extinction Rebellion display Black Friday protest installation outside the Grafton Centre

The group displayed a mobile exhibition linking the climate crisis, consumption and the cost-of-living crisis


On Friday 24th November (Black Friday) between 11am and 2pm, Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists joined with other groups – including Friends of the Earth and Global Justice Cambridge – to display a trolley installation warning against over-consumption.

The installation used shopping trolleys to challenge the way society encourages consumerism and waste, and the damage this is doing to the planet and to the quality of people’s lives.

Image credit: Esther Knowles

The trolley exhibition was placed near the Grafton Centre on Black Friday, a day when shops often introduce promotional discounts to encourage spending at the start of the Christmas shopping season. The trolleys were decorated with plastic bottles, old toys sourced from tips, a palm tree along with an orangutang and pieces of art. Members of the public were invited to talk to the artists and take items of clothing free of charge from the free shop that accompanied the installation.

Each trolley display was accompanied with information, including about how the cost of living crisis and the climate emergency are linked.

One of the activists involved with the installation told The Tab Cambridge about the positive effects the protest has already had. They reported a lot of “visual interest” in the installation, with one man even deciding not to buy a new plastic phone case after learning more about the negative environmental impact such consumerism has.

Kay Goodridge, one of the artists and activists behind the trolley, said: “The trolley goes beyond its literal meaning –an object for carrying items of food, clothing etc – to become a symbol of consumerism, waste, the cost of living crisis and the lack of transparency in the food supply chain. We aimed to communicate this message to passers-by through humour, text and images.”

Image credit: Esther Knowles

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a UK-founded group who use nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to act on the climate crisis. It was launched nationally in London in October 2018 when activists declared themselves in open rebellion against the UK government, and have been carrying out public protests ever since.

Image credit: Esther Knowles

The activists involved in this protest have expressed hope that “a better world” can be made possible through action. They believe: “The throwaway culture fostered by companies seeking to increase profits while living standards deteriorate due to climate crisis and pressures on the cost of living, is making the world increasingly uninhabitable and toxic.”

Image credit: Esther Knowles

Featured Image Credit: Esther Knowles

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