The climate change "die-in" has divided Canberra. In this opinion piece, we present the case for the protest. But read Steve Evans' piece, too, for another view.
The bodies lie in the middle of Commonwealth Bridge in Canberra, strewn across the bitumen, blocking traffic. A leg twitches. Someone stifles a giggle.
But the theatrics hold.
This is the capital's first big "die-in" - a protest designed to bring the city to a standstill, to disrupt business as usual in the home of business of usual, and help governments realise that radical action is now needed to avert the worst effects of climate change or we could all end up...well...you know...
It's dramatic, it's silly, certainly it's inconvenient. But that's the point. And it might just work.
It's easy to be sceptical when you're stuck in a traffic jam and all you can see of the greatest climate movement in history is a few dozen people carrying home-made signs and yelling about the end of the world.
But the school climate strikes - and now the Extinction Rebellion - have seen millions take to the streets in recent months, shutting down cities and towns across the planet. Many veteran activists have hailed the strikes as a "game-changer" for the environmental movement, drawing bigger crowds in Australia than the Vietnam war protests.
What began with a Swedish teen skipping school on a Friday to protest outside her parliament has become a circuit breaker bringing students, parents, teachers, Indigenous communities and workers together under the same banner of "climate justice".
This month's "Spring Rebellion" is still non-violent but decidedly more adult. Activists are scaling bridges, gluing themselves to roads, even marching nude to force a response.
So far, that response has mostly been irritation. But some fear the group's actions are leaving the world more divided than ever, as anger boils over into government crackdowns and protesters are increasingly branded as "extremists". A number of those arrested already have come under notably harsh bail conditions and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has declared he wants them all thrown in jail or cut off welfare.
"We're being treated like criminals, when they're the ones knowingly polluting the planet and lining the pockets of our politicians to keep it all quiet," one 16-year-old protester said.
Given the science has been settled on global warming and its cause (burning fossil fuels) for more than a few decades now - with some chillingly accurate early research coming from inside oil companies themselves - it seems a fair complaint.
And, for all our outrage about the supposedly "guerilla methods" of protesters, about wasted police resources, squandered school time and now dole bludging, we seem to have forgotten that just about every successful protest movement felt much the same to those watching on at the time.
The Suffragettes lost a lot of their own early sympathisers when they turned to more "mischievous" and "unladylike" stunts to draw attention to their cause. Both the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war protests took years and many brutal police crackdowns, before they were hailed a success.
And it was our baby boomers - then suitably angry youths - who mostly led those peace rallies against conscription, who organised huge "moratoriums" to bring business as usual crashing down. Sound familiar?
Direct action never wins you many friends (at least not until the DVD commentary) but it gets results. Research shows it only takes 3.5% of the population in sustained civil disobedience to topple a dictator.
In Australia, it's saved swathes of wilderness (including the Franklin River) and Aboriginal land. In the UK, where Extinction Rebellion first emerged, days of blockading London eventually forced the parliament to declare a climate emergency earlier this year.
And up north a small camp of determined activists have managed to both delay and drastically shrink down the controversial Adani coal mine now under construction in the Galilee Basin.
That project, as Kelly O'Shanassy of the Australian Conservation Foundation tells me, is a "climate bomb". The mine will open up one of the largest untapped coal reserves left on the planet - threatening to blow the world's carbon budget in almost one fell swoop.
It's a big reason Australian protesters have largely given up on going through the "proper channels" - and why we as a populace hold more power in this debate than we realise.
The government loves to remind us that Australia is only a small player on the world stage, that we should aim low, leave it up to the big boys to fix, be polite, even as our emissions at home rise and our coal exports keep grinding out.
Now the window left for change is excruciatingly tight - scientists agree we are already in the deciding decade.
To give the planet a good shot at staying below two degrees of warming since the industrial revolution, countries need to triple their emissions reduction targets. To keep below 1.5 degrees - the thoroughly less calamitous scenario - ambitions need to grow five-fold.
Both these futures still hold punishing extreme weather and disease but the UN estimates the latter could save more than 190 million lives. And that's just the human lives.
We are now wiping out other species at an unprecedented rate - triggering a new mass extinction. That won't just affect our Safari photos, it'll play havoc with the planet's life support systems. Including that wonderful piece of carbon-busting technology - trees - which we are continuing to churn into paper.
In August, a lead author of the UN's upcoming 2020 report confessed scientists were panicking - as early temperature modelling came back forecasting higher than expected warming.
Fortunately, the market is now largely fighting the battle for campaigners as renewable energy falls in price. But many people, including the protesters, say it will still take a specialist emergency response to hit our targets on time - similar to the kind of fast mobilisation the world saw at the outbreak of WWII.
Part of that means declaring some kind of climate emergency and drastically cutting emissions - the rebels and strikers are very valiantly calling for net zero emissions by 2030 - by saying no to new fossil fuel projects, investing more in renewables and winding back deforestation rates.
But it doesn't have to mean our economy goes down the toilet either - huge opportunities are now opening up in renewable exports as technology catches up with demand.
"We're already in the transition and when you're in it it's messy and it's hard to see...I think it will only accelerate from here," O'Shanassy says.
Dom Rowe at Greenpeace agrees, saying Asia could become a booming market for Australian solar power.
But it will be fossil fuel workers shortchanged in the end if governments don't step up and help fund a fair shift to renewable jobs.
"They will be the ones left in the lurch when the mines shut, that's really when we need governments to do something," O'Shanassy says.
There is an opportunity here to make the energy sector and vast parts of our society fairer and better - call it collateral damage of our climate clean-up.
We don't have to reinvent the wheel, overthrow our governments and install a new Platonian-style panel of scientists as our emperor kings. But we certainly no longer have the luxury of sitting back and seeing how it all pans out.
Because, buried within the many thousands of pages of climate change research, there burns on a bright ember of hope.
There is still time to fix this. It's short. In fact, it could even be measured in the hourglass sign you keep seeing at those damn Extinction Rebellion protests.
But then humanity's always been good at beating the odds.
That's what we're doing right now.
- Sherryn Groch is a latte-sipping journalist from Melbourne with long hair. Draw your own conclusions.