Citizen Action Monitor

Tens of thousands join Break Free actions targeting world’s most dangerous fossil fuel sites

Cheers all around! But, is anyone assessing the effectiveness of this unprecedented campaign?

No 1674 Posted by fw, May 16, 2016

“Tens of thousands of activists took to the streets, occupied mines, blocked rail lines, linked arms, paddled in kayaks and held community meetings in 13 countries, pushing the boundaries of conventional protest to find new ways to demand coal, oil and gas stay in the ground. Participants risked arrest—many for the first time—to say that it’s time to Break Free from the current energy paradigm that is locking the planet into a future of catastrophic climate change.”350.org

Featured in the abridged repost below are highlights from the Break Free campaign. As an added bonus, at the end of the post is an embedded 41-minute video of Disobedience, a documentary film that captures the efforts of Break Free organizers in Canada, Germany, Turkey and the Philippines as they prepare to mobilize for major actions in May.

To read the entire article, including a detailed overview of actions from around the world, click on the following linked title.

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Tens of Thousands Take Part in Global Actions Targeting World’s Most Dangerous Fossil Fuel Projects by 350.org, EcoWatch, May 16, 2016

Twelve days of unprecedented worldwide action against fossil fuels concluded Sunday showing that the climate movement will not rest until all coal, oil and gas is kept in the ground. The combined global efforts of activists on six continents now pose a serious threat to the future of the fossil fuel industry, already weakened by financial and political uncertainty.

UK’s largest opencast coal mine was shut down for a day. Photo credit: Tim Wagner

UK’s largest opencast coal mine was shut down for a day. Photo credit: Tim Wagner

Tens of thousands of activists took to the streets, occupied mines, blocked rail lines, linked arms, paddled in kayaks and held community meetings in 13 countries, pushing the boundaries of conventional protest to find new ways to demand coal, oil and gas stay in the ground. Participants risked arrest—many for the first time—to say that it’s time to Break Free from the current energy paradigm that is locking the planet into a future of catastrophic climate change.

Driving this unprecedented wave of demonstrations is the sudden and dramatic acceleration in the warming of the planet, with every single month of 2016 shattering heat records, combined with the growing gap between world governments’ stated climate ambitions, and their demonstrated actions in approving new fossil fuel projects. On the last day of mobilization, a key monitoring site on Tasmania recorded atmospheric carbon-dioxide exceeding 400 parts per million for the first time ever.

“This is the hottest year we’ve ever measured, and so it is remarkably comforting to see people rising up at every point of the compass to insist on change,” Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, said.

Break Free protest in Vancouver, Canada. Photo credit: Zack Embree / Survival Media Agency

Break Free protest in Vancouver, Canada. Photo credit: Zack Embree / Survival Media Agency

These actions took place under the banner of Break Free, which refers to the need to shift away from our current dependency on fossil fuels to a global energy system powered by 100 percent renewable energy. In 2015, 90 percent of new energy capacity came from renewables, signaling that a rapid transition to 100 percent renewable energy is more feasible than ever.

“People power in our cities, in our villages and on the front lines of climate change have brought us to a point where we have a global climate deal, but we do not stop now, we need more action and faster,” Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network, said. “Civil society is set to rise up again, to fight for our societies to break free from fossil fuels, to propel them even faster towards a just future powered by 100 percent renewable energy.”

As the impacts of a warming planet become more visible in the form of rising sea levels, drought and stronger storms, the citizens who joined Break Free will continue to be a part of the next phase of the movement as it becomes more vocal, disruptive and powerful.

Highlights include:

  • Thousands worldwide risked arrest during the actions, many for the first time.
  • $20 million worth of coal shipments were halted by activists shutting down the largest coal port in the world in Newcastle, Australia.
  • The UK’s largest opencast coal mine was shut down for a day.
  • Hundreds stood up to South Africa’s most powerful family with a march that delivered coal to their front door, despite their attempts to silence civil society by pressuring police to revoke permits for a march.
  • Dozens of people occupied train tracks overnight on both coasts of the United States to stop oil-filled ‘bomb trains’ from rolling through communities — including less than 100 feet from low-income public housing in Albany, New York.
  • 3,500 people shut down one of Europe’s biggest carbon polluters in Germany, occupying a lignite mine and nearby power station for more than 48 hours, reducing the plant’s capacity by 80 percent.
  • 10,000 marched against a proposed coal plant in Batangas, the Philippines.
  • 3,000 sent an ear-splitting message to Indonesia’s president with a whistle demonstration against coal in Jakarta, and a few days later 12 activists climbed the cranes supplying coal for the Cirebon Coal Power Plant, and dropping banners to “Quit Coal” and for “Clean Energy, Clean Air.”
  • Community members blocked traffic outside the gates of Brazil’s largest thermal coal plant, in Ceará.
  • On land and water, indigenous communities and local activists blockaded the Kinder Morgan tar sands facility in Metro-Vancouver, unseeded Coast Salish Territories.
  • 150+ local activists marched and occupied the entrance of two fossil fuel refineries, which are the largest unaddressed source of carbon pollution in the Northwest of the U.S.
  • In Aliaga, Turkey 2,000 people marched to the gates of the Izmir region’s largest coal dump, and surrounded it with a giant red line, as a call to end plans for the massive expansion of coal in the country.

“The global climate justice movement is rising fast. But so are the oceans. So are global temperatures. This is a race against time. Our movement is stronger than ever, but to beat the odds, we have to grow stronger,” Naomi Klein, award winning journalist/author, said.

END OF ABRIDGED SEGMENT

To continue reading the detailed overview of the Break Free actions, click here.

SEE ALSO

Disobedience, by Kelly Nyks writer/director, Release date April 29, 2016, Run time 41 minutes

Synopsis: The film features Break Free organizers in Canada, Germany, Turkey and the Philippines as they prepare to mobilize for major actions this May. It shows that the global movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground is growing in size and courage. It has become crystal clear that our governments will only move as far and fast as they have to. The pressure from the corporate fossil fuel world, their bankers, and their obedient politicians have brought us to where we are now. and that is not good enough. Disobedience features author and activist Naomi Klein, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, as well as board member Lidy Nacpil and dozens of inspiring voices from front-line fights around the world.

Watch it here –

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