Counterculture from the late 1950s was identified by the peace symbol. The rave generation of the 80s had the smiley logo. Now we see the movement against climate breakdown being represented by the extinction symbol, brought to prominence by the recent actions of Extinction Rebellion (XR).

Extinction symbol

Its growing presence around the world is certainly aided by its simplicity. Just like the peace symbol, it’s easy to replicate, whether spray-painted, embroidered, printed on pin-badges, etc., and as a result it’s easy to remember.

Extinction symbol Wellington
Climate protests in Wellington, NZ, via @ExtinctionNZ

The circle represents earth, while the stylised hourglass signifies that time’s running out. Despite Extinction Rebellion protests in 2018/19 raising awareness of the design, its origins predate the XR movement. In a recent interview for Eco Hustler, the symbol’s designer, an east London artist known as “ESP,” spoke of prior involvement with the UK anti-roads movement and a background in sculpture and printmaking. “I was making protest art about the declines of various individual species for a while,” he said. “But it felt quite inconsequential in relation to the scale of the problem. I gradually realised that the issue was so big that […] it needed something simple that anybody could easily replicate. At the start of 2011 I was just randomly sketching designs and as soon as I drew the symbol I knew what it was.”

Extinction symbol Downing Street
Extinction symbol outside Downing Street, via

ESP emailed around 20 environmental groups, offering the use of the symbol. Only one replied to say they’d use it if it ever got popular, but they wouldn’t circulate it beforehand. That’s when ESP realised he had to put it out there himself, pasting posters and tiles of the symbol on walls around east London.

“I started off by chalking it really large on a wall down Brick Lane and some guys standing across the street were joking around, asking me if I thought I was Banksy or something. I just ignored them and carried on. Then they became curious about the meaning and one said, ‘X marks the spot,’ then his friend said, ‘No, time’s running out.’ I turned around and was like ‘Yes!’ I walked over and gave them a flyer about the extinction crisis that I’d printed off for such occasions. That incident gave me confidence that people could instantly get the meaning of it, even though the design was somewhat stylised for ease of application.”

Extinction symbol, Glasgow, Scotland
Extinction symbol in George Square, Glasgow, via @extinctsymbol

ESP’s website makes the extinction symbol freely available to those who wish to use it, but makes it clear that it has always been an anti-consumerist project. “No extinction-symbol merchandise exists, and it never will do.” Extinction Rebellion contacted ESP in 2018 about incorporating the design into their movement.

All this is obviously about more than a logo. Lest we forget that it wasn’t long ago when the “data” was warning of the impending ice age (via David Alexander).


That symbol was on a WOMAD “W” last year in Wiltshire (Shell is a sponsor for New Zealand WOMAD). I think that’s freaky.

This is how the Hitler Youth started, with false propaganda. This time it’s global warming nonsense.

For me the jury is still out on man causing global warming, but there is no doubt we are destroying the planet in so many ways and at such a fast rate. So it makes sense to raise awareness.

I remember that one, and that NY was supposed to be under water by 2010. It’s insane.

So am I. But I don’t choose to cling to that belief, just because I remember it. An ice age may be approaching ever so slowly, but man has redirected the natural climate trajectory by dramatically overheating the planet. It’s really not complicated to understand the basics (if you spend a little reading up on the scientific facts), and it’s really not a question of belief. All scientists (who are not paid by fossil energy) agree. We can’t afford to waste time talking about whether or not it’s true. It is.

The false propaganda, fake news and unfounded claims are produced by the Koch brothers, the Heartland Institute and the other corporate giants who gain from maintaining this belief that there is even a debate on this issue of human induced climate change. Their aim is to keep us all squabbling so we are too preoccupied and they can carry on with their destructive work. Steven Collier there is no longer any debate, these are facts which you are ignoring.

Steven Collier. That just isn’t true. You just wrote it to try and look smart. But it’s bollocks. Just read a history of the Hitler Youth.

No. Firstly, the Hitler Youth started off as an organisational spin-off to the NSDAP. XR, however, are not affiliated with ANY political party. Secondly, both NSDAP (the Nazi party) and the Hitler Youth were based on an ideology, whereas XR is completely based on science. Thirdly, nazis drew power from verbal and physical violence, whereas XR do not bully you into stupid conformism. Instead, they want you to understand scientific fact, so you can form an opinion, which in turn enables you to live sustainably. Before you write something like your comment, read something. Don’t be a sheep, following other sheep, because all you will ever see is their arses.

Your are entitled to your own beliefs, but not your own facts. Climate change is a fact. This post is about the branding for a group campaigning about awareness of climate change. I’m not sure how we anyone managed to make the leap from that to the Hitler youth.

We live in strange times.

I agree, history seems to be repeating itself. This Extinction Rebellion movement is a very dangerous cult, they need to be stopped.

XR is not a cult nor is it dangerous. It is a liberal organisation with clear goals, all of which are positive economically and environmentally. The goals are to recognise the clear emergency and act quickly, in a democratic method of changing the way we as humans are destroying the planet. The science is crystal clear that we must act now to halt pollution, biodiversity loss, and the emission of greenhouse gases like CO2, or suffer the consequences, some of which we are already experiencing. In no way is XR a dangerous cult and I would like to know where that notion came from.

What then? you think the world’s resources are infinite? They aren’t. You think that the world is created as a kind of self-balancing eco-system that will correct our extreme pillaging of resources and absorb our poisons while nurturing mankind? Where’s YOUR proof? Now THAT’S wishful nonsense. Go read a book.

The proof is synthesis in which a plant breathes in C02 and exhales pure oxygen. Currently the C02 levels on earth are 11% and the earth is greener than it was 20 years ago. Look it up facts and science.

Steven Collier, and the Nazi movement grew out of fear & apathy. The general population chose to ignore, inform, or involve themselves in their political environment.

“If you don’t care to involve yourself, you will not care to evolve.” — Agnes Szalay, 1979

I agree with Guy. Look deeper into this movement. It is not a coincidence that it gets a lot of mainstream media attention, while the real issues (child abuse and human trafficking, the real cause of our wars, etc. just follow the money!) are being pushed to the background.

The Cabal created the narrative of man-made CO2-induced climate change and hijacked environmental movements in order to spread fear/chaos and to radicalize people, but also to get them excited about the interests of the Elite:

Even if some members may have good intentions, some of them just get paid for their participation, and major worldwide climate protests are clearly pervaded by negative occult symbolism (please note, some of the pictures in the links can be disturbing):

There’s a lot of misleading going on, as always, but now more than ever. I recommend this article about internet trolling:

Be aware of the ‘divide and conquer’ agenda. Do your own research. Never follow anyone or any paradigm just because it sounds good or plausible. Be(come) your own guide and master and learn how to follow your heart. Be of pure intention. Are you supporting life or death, creation or extinction?

Thank you Anaclara for taking time to provide all the above information & your invitation to critical thought.

Is Extinction Rebellion addressing the effect of geo-engineering and weather modification programmes on the climate? And what about the high levels of electromagnetic radiation emitted by 5g technology? Are they aware that the 5g signal is blocked by tree foliage, which is resulting in large scale felling across the UK and Ireland?

Nature global warming destruction of natural habitat is all in the agenda… why don’t you join the green revolution and make that your responsibility to lobby?

And that one of the key XR founders, Gail Bradbrook, has deep associations with the telecommunications giants & the ‘digital inclusion’ (5G rollout) agenda.

The symbol bears a distinct resemblance to SOGO, a Japanese department store and supermarket retail chain present in many Asian markets.

E.R. have a sign, crossed hands with fists. We are witnessing the emergence of a new ultra fascist movement — war is peace, freedom is slavery — ignorance is strength.

Obviously you don’t know too much about Extinction Rebellion or you would at least know it’s abbreviated as “XR”.

Their symbol is borrowed from Native American religion. This is the Lakota symbol of the sun and earth. In Lakota, it is called Kapemni which means twisting. The top inverted triangle represents the stars and the sun. The lower triangle represents the earth. The center represents the connection between the earth and the sun. The Lakota tribe observed the celestial and earthly changes around them and realized the earth mirrors the star world.

It is paganism, occult symbol, so has satanic interpretations. It is essentially a fear based death cult, its offer of salvation is death. Other occult symbols used by 21st century movements, the Swastika brings up lots of comparisons. The medieval costumes in red, seen at protests, looking like extras from Stanley Kubrick’s movie Eyes Wide Shut; gives a very dark feeling to this movement. Say it as it is, this is not a benign movement, it is a web of evil.

I am amazed by the negativity of these comments — it is just a catchy SYMBOL suggesting an HOURGLASS and a CIRCLE for the EARTH! Do you actually have any notion of the rock hard Science behind the coming Climate Catastrophe? Are you so willfully ignorant that you would sooner your kids die horrible deaths than open your eyes to the URGENT NEED to take ACTION? You are sniping at those with the heart and courage to save your sorry asses. Beyond Disgusting.

I totally agree Jarek. Some of these comments are simply trolling. Guy’s comment wins the tin foil hat prize. Why do some people think brands have some crazy hidden meaning? There is an increasing and worrying trend where growing numbers of people believe in barmy conspiracy theories.

Speaking as someone who once believed the XR narrative and was very active in my local groups, I have to say I now find the organisation dubious to say the least. This is not to disrespect the caring & courageous individuals who have been recruited & placed their trust in XR out of their genuine concern for climate justice, but I now think the core is rotten.

XR demands objective ‘truth’ to be told – as though truth is one solid tangible thing that can be told – as though there aren’t other versions of truth & as though truth is not hugely complex. In the collective mind of XR it seems very simple & reductionist – either the truth or climate denial. After many hours of researching, I have arrived at the conclusion that Earth cannot be reduced in this way!

The predator class that I now believe are behind XR – whose inhumanity knows no bounds – are the same now as they ever were; ruthless in their protection of their power & privileges. This is not barmy conspiracy theory. Are our memories so short? Have we so lost the capacity to see the wider picture?

Who are the predator class? Why do you think they are behind XR? What do you mean by ‘why are our memories so short’?

Facts are facts. Opinions are opinions. You can’t confuse one with the other.

It is fact that the science says that climate change is real, it is a danger to our current way of life, it’s affecting our planet and it will get worse.

It is a fact that governments are not doing enough.

It’s a fact that fossil fuel companies have been funding misinformation campaigns regarding renewables and climate change/global warming for decades.

It’s a fact that we aren’t doing enough to cut our emissions.

I had not heard of the Lakota connection, but I find it odd that you consider paganism to be evil (and would also like to clarify that while Pagans such as myself are inclined to consider Native American religions to be, in a sense, Pagan, Native Americans who practice them have for the most part declined the inclusion of Native American religion under the title of “Pagan”.)

In any case, there is no Satanic interpretation that I know of for that symbol. There is, however, still an occult interpretation (well, I mean, occult-ish, I guess), which is derived from Norse Runes, which according to legend were first learned by Odin, so their interpretation would be Odin-ic, not Satanic. If you are going to throw words around, please at least give proper credit where credit is due, thank you very much.

In the interpretation of runes for divinatory purposes, runes have two possible meanings, depending on if they are forward or inverted, however, the symbol in question is actually a Dagaz (runic letter D) turned on its side.

Dagaz represents, to quote a website called, “Breakthrough, awakening, awareness. Daylight clarity as opposed to nighttime uncertainty. A time to plan or embark upon an enterprise. The power of change directed by your own will, transformation. Hope/happiness, the ideal. Security and certainty. Growth and release. Balance point, the place where opposites meet.”

Another website gives a more direct interpretation: “You have to break up with the past to keep the benefactions of the Knowledge and to benefit what is waiting you farther!”

Of course, it is interesting to note that both these Old Norse meanings of the symbol and the Lakota meaning of the symbol which you mentioned would still be directing towards the idea of keeping the Earth in balance in this context, despite the fact that the designer of the symbol does not say that he had any knowledge of such meanings.

It’s almost as if ancient and long-forgotten ancestors are trying to send us a message or something.

There is no such thing as Native American religion. There are over 562 different tribes with their own sets of beliefs suited to their ways of life. I was doing research on my own tribe and came across all this f*ckery, well done wasicu pr*cks, the world is f*cking cooked.

Yes Guy! “As above so below” is an esoteric phrase used worldwide (even in the Lords Prayer; “On Earth as it is in Heaven”) but also used by most secret societies. This symbol tells anyone in the know exactly who is organizing it and how trustworthy it is (not at all). For more proof go to an online gematria calculator and type in the phrases “As Above so Below” and “Carbon Emission” and see how they match.

The non-historian above referring the Hitler youth is of course incorrect. The Hitler youth were created by the people in power at the time ie the nazi party – to crush any resistance. The non historian above would love a Hitler youth to spy on those resisting the social order through grass roots movements such as the extinction rebellion. Ironic how blind conservatives can be to their own tyrannical tendencies.

I think it looks fascist. I just do, it was the first thing in my head when I first saw it. Yes, that’s a negative connotation. My opinion, my brain making analogies, my gut not liking it. And apparently I’m not the only one. You can explain the symbol, doesn’t change it. Maybe less bold lines might have been better.

Considering the world we live upon was once a ball of ‘red hot molten magma’, it cooled down OK all by itself, the earth formed its own climate, atmosphere, oceans & animals and even mankind is a natural addition to the natural balance. It was our rich industrialist overlords who promoted pollution. The pollution needs cleaning up that’s all, its not an unstoppable clock.

No, this climate change panic is being created by the powerful elites, behind the governments & using ‘useful idiots’ to create a scientific dictatorship, a ‘technocracy’ a ‘fake science reality’ to tax the population into financing its own extinction event. The same kids who are protesting today will be the puppet victims of overlords who would starve them of a future. They will have been duped into a sustainable destiny that ONLY SUSTAINS THE ELITE FEW, the rich masters who orchestrated today’s rebellion, for their own selfish inheritance of the planet.

This is a great video from the BBC >

The earth cooled from a ball of magma over billions of years! How long does magma from a volcano take to cool?

Greg, if powerful ‘elites’ created the ‘climate change panics’ and are behind the governments, why aren’t the governments doing anything near enough to solve the problem?

It makes zero sense.

Many poor countries run on almost 100% renewables. They jumped straight to them, and they are generating cheaper electricity than gas and oil.

How has a factual, interesting post by David about branding for Extinction Rebellion, turned into a diatribe of myths and ill-formed conspiracy theories?

What happened to rational thought. What happened to truth? #truthisgood

By the way, the great global warming swindle was on Channel 4, not the BBC, and has been widely debunked.

Wow, just wow! Global warming is a scientific fact. Anyone who disagrees is just too ignorant to follow the science put before them; or too lazy to do a little research; or just does not care if the planet (thus humans) dies out during the next decade or two. I got on the internet to figure out the symbol that I just saw on Micheal C Hall’s T-shirt during an interview. I googled “hour glass in circle” and this thread is one of the top results. Although I am gladdened to see that Micheal C. Hall cares enough to spread the word on how we are running out of time to save the earth, I am horrified by the symbol conspiracy theorists and global warming non-believers!

And there are other scientific viewpoints that disprove anthropogenic global warning. If we can’t have an open conversation about this & if expressing rational scepticism is the new heresy then XR would appear to be operating like a cult.

Any occultist recognises that symbol instantly as the “as above, so below” symbol widely used in Freemasonry and Satanism.

We are the ones (humans) who are killing this beautiful planet. And all our friends that live on it. Well done ER. Keep up the good work.

No, it isn’t masonic. Read the article.

I have an hourglass in my house. I’m not a freemason.

Dr Dre isn’t a real Dr.

Not everything with an hourglass is masonic or has some secret conspiracy behind it.


When I was a child I would see images with my own eyes of the pollution and destruction we cause our planet. It wasn’t because I was taught this! I knew, and I was a child! There are always going to be people who don’t want to see because they don’t know what to do and that fear will always fight against any fact. There will always be ones who fight for change and others who are too scared to even know what they believe in. We know deep down we are nothing without this beautiful planet and if we can just make some changes we will all benefit whether we believe in climate change or not.

Can I blend in and use the logo in my clothing brand logo design? My brand want to promote the act of loving and saving our planet, including human, animal, nature environment and letting more people notice about it. The meaning of the extinction is one of it. Can I use it in my branding design?

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