10 Questions | Clare Farrell

Clare Farrell is a full time activist and campaigner best known as one of the founders of Extinction Rebellion - the non-violent movement fighting against climate collapse. Clare also lectures on sustainable fashion at Central St Martins in London, which is how our founder, Jessica, came to meet her.

Clare is magnetic. She has a wicked sense of humour which she often whips in to action to drive home her message. And that message is crystal clear: we need urgent systemic change, otherwise our planet (and by extension, we humans) will be in the most dire straights.

It is thanks to, and inspired by Clare that LUXTRA has doubled down on its mission to be ever more sustainable, and have named our backpack collection in her honour. We want to share her message and inspire others, so read on to see what she makes of our existential questions. They are some of the most profound we have received.

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Clare Farrell Exctinction Rebellion

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How do you usually start your day? 
Coffee and meetings - sometimes bleary eyes but straight to work online or rushing out to a meeting on my bike. 
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What is your big dream ? 
That humanity can shift the course we’re on towards more care, and politics that works in the best interests of people and the living planetary systems we are part of. New systems, and a world (for my nephews and all the young people I know) that isn't still spiralling towards catastrophic warming. This won't happen without you by the way so do find your way to help!
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How do you face the day given the environmental crisis we are in?
I think I’ve got a greater than average capacity to confront horror and trauma, probably being fucked up by broken family dynamics and major experiences of grief in my young life has some part to play in that. I am grateful for the transformative effect of that, and the urge to live life well seems to me to be a direct by product. I have been in talking therapy for about 10 years - this has been life changing and continues to support me really well. 
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Understanding interdependence and having the sense of living a finite time here on earth is really healthy I think, it helps me to know that what I do when I make decisions matters. 
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What you are most proud of in your life to date?
Still being alive after 37 years! 
Maybe it's daring to embark on the journey of activism that I'm currently on. I've pretty much left fashion behind, in favour of pursuing nonviolence, movement building and trying to get change to happen.  
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Clare Farrell Speaking Extinction Rebellion
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What has been the most difficult time?
I think probably about 10 yrs ago, I split up with my partner, both he and my best friends moved out of my long term house share, I lost my work and then my dad died. That all happened in the space of about 5 months, oh and I lacerated my wrist in an accident at the same time, so I was disabled by that for many months and permanently damaged the nerves in my hand... that was a pretty hard time to get through! 
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Biggest life lesson?
Grief is a positive transformation.
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Complete the phrase:
I'm happiest when...
I'm cooking for a group of friends and they are all in the kitchen with me  
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My favourite place to be is: 
Thats pretty hard, in terms of travel I have a love of Copenhagen, my dear friends there have hosted me again and again. Coming there from London is like going to a different dimension - it's so quiet by comparison and I love to just roam the streets there. I only go by train these days although I used to fly, so now I don't go so often. 
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The woman/women who have inspired me most:
One woman who has shown me a lot is my friend Gail Bradbrook. A founder of XRUK. She is dedicated to research, reflection, and putting herself out there in words and deeds. She has inspired me to take risks and hold responsibilities that have made a lot of things possible (things which I find quite scary)... inspiring me with courage I guess. Another is my former business partner Nin Castle, just a powerhouse of a woman on a mission to change fashion for the better. We used to run a womenswear label called Goodone together, around 2008 onwards, using post consumer waste and post industrial waste. 
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What I'm planning next:
Just trying to work out how we respond when we are locked up indoors. The arctic is still melting, the biodiversity crisis is still in full swing, but we are all stuck inside and for an indefinite period so erm, like everyone, I'm trying to work out what's possible?! 
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It might be financial disobedience, rent strikes and debt strikes. 
It might be supporting big plans for 2021 when we aim to support the development of a global citizens assembly. This would be a representative, randomly chosen group of individuals from every continent who come together as a participatory democratic council to work out how we can respond as a global community to the climate and ecological crisis. In a globally representative body like this the room would be around 10-11% white. The images of this alone would show viscerally the inequity we have created and continue to perpetuate, the reality of our human family. 
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Clare is on Instagram and Twitter
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Exctinction Rebellion