Break Free from fossil fuels protests in Croatia and Israel have kickstarted the latest wave of protests by a global movement determined to accelerate the shift to an era of renewable energy, with further activities recently held in the Philippines and in the Arab world.
At the weekend, in the country’s first big climate mobilisation, 1500 people took part in a mass cycle ride in Croatia. In Israel, local communities denounced air pollution from coal-fired power plants, while across the Arab world a game to phase out fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy was launched.
Finally in the Philippines today, a coalition of civil society groups and coal-impacted communities rallied at the headquarters of a major fossil fuel company.
From Chile to Thailand, South Korea to Poland, coal mines, coal-fired power plants and their harmful pollution is the focus of people’s call for a cleaner and healthier energy future.
Agustin Maggio, a spokesperson for the Break Free movement, said: “The warning lights of dangerous climate change are flashing around the world, triggered by the burning of fossil fuels Look to the vanishing sea ice at both poles, the severe drought in Africa or the Great Barrier Reef fighting for its life to see the damage this is already causing.
This is why people everywhere are demanding action from their governments and the corporations that are so far refusing to move away from the dirty energy sources which are putting so many lives at risk.
“The only way to keep global warming to the 1.5C limit agreed in Paris is to break free from fossil fuels now and speed up the transition to a future based on affordable, renewable energy for everyone.”
On the role of Indigenous peoples in the fight against climate change, Fionuala Cregan of Land Rights Now said: “Indigenous peoples and local communities, whose land rights are disproportionately affected by fossil fuels, are so important not only in the movement against dirty energy, but also in protecting the planet from climate change.
Despite their crucial role, Indigenous peoples around the world have full ownership rights to less than 20 percent of their customary lands.”
On the role of women in the fight against climate change, Osprey Orielle Lake of Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) said: “Women around the world are raising their voices and putting their bodies on the line to prevent the continued degradation of the Earth, our climate and our communities.
Women are central to the solution to climate change. Even though they suffer more from its impacts, they demonstrate everyday extraordinary courage, brilliance and passion as they simultaneously fight oppressive government and corporate systems, while building the just and livable world we seek.”
On the people-powered call for climate justice, Desiree Llanos Dee of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said: “We are working with groups around the world to use the power of the law to protect our basic human rights to a stable climate and healthy environment.
Around the world and in frontline communities in the Philippines, people are standing up for their lives, their rights, and their future.
“We are part of Break Free because the vision, courage, and the diversity of the movement are exceptional reminders of what brings us together, what we strive to protect, what we are willing to fight for, and what kind of future we want.
It takes a people-powered and people-centered movement to amplify the voices of the most vulnerable sectors and to increase pressure on governments and corporations to rapidly transition to 100 per cent renewable energy and just societies.”
On the state of the Great Barrier Reef, Sebastien Blavier of Greenpeace Australia Pacific said: “While the Reef is fighting for its life, the Australian government wants to use taxpayers’ money to fund its destruction.
Tackling climate change by breaking free from fossil fuels is the only real solution to save the Reef — and that starts by ending public funding for climate-wrecking coal projects.”
On communities standing up to fracking, Rebekah Hinojosa of Save RGV from LNG in the US said: “Authorities and BNP Paribas are selling out our low-income Latino coastal communities to multi-billion dollar fracked-gas corporations seeking to exploit our land, including sacred Indigenous land, for overseas profit.
Our families deserve clean air and water and a just economy that is not dependent on polluting fossil fuels corporations that will put our communities at risk.
The Rio Grande Valley of Texas community has taken a stand and mobilised against these fracked-gas companies for over three years, and we will continue to resist.”
Notes to editors:
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Agustin Maggio, Greenpeace International: email@example.com, +32 496 122 100 (in Athens)
Scott Parkin, Rainforest Action Network: firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 415 235 0596 (in San Francisco)
Desiree Llanos Dee, Greenpeace Southeast Asia:email@example.com, +63 917 800 6473 (in Manila)