Matt Leonard emails:
In 2016, the fossil fuel industry faces an existential crisis.
Every country in the world has now agreed to tackle the issue of climate change, historically low prices have sent the industry into a financial tailspin, and two consecutive years of record global temperatures have galvanized support for climate action. There has never been a better moment to confront the fossil fuel industry and break its hold on our economy.
This May, organizers on every continent are planning a global wave of mass actions to leverage this moment—to break free from fossil fuels and spark a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
Along with partners around the world, we announced the Break Free 2016 mobilization as the Paris Climate Summit was wrapping up in December.
In the United States, the Break Free mobilization will be a series of actions from coast to coast to take on the industry and keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Break Free isn’t like anything we’ve ever done before. It’s a network of independently-organized actions to keep fossil fuels in the ground. It’s escalated, but more than just a handful of protest veterans. It’s a mass mobilization, but not just happening in one place at one time. It’s global, but grassroots-driven.
In Albany, New York, a coalition of groups from across the region will take on an oil-by-rail terminal that pumps pollution into the homes of the city’s poorest residents; in Colorado, activists will take a stand to say that it’s time to keep all publicly-owned oil and gas underground; in Los Angeles, community members will call for a fracking ban—and so much more.
Each of these actions will help escalate a critical fossil fuel fight that’s already underway. Around the country, communities impacted by fossil fuels have been fighting and winning local battles for months, years, and sometimes decades—from Native peoples’ resistance to pipeline infrastructure in the Midwest, to the frontline-led battle to stop fracking in California’s Central Valley, to the kayak blockades that stopped Shell’s Arctic drilling rig in Seattle last year.
Now, we all have an opportunity to step up and join in.
By confronting the power of the fossil fuel industry, we can create space for something better to grow in its place—clean energy, local solutions, and a just transition to a new kind of economy.
By coordinating our escalation across the planet this May, we can show the fossil fuel industry that they have no place left to run: the world is through with their pollution, their corruption, and their greed.
Together, we can make this a turning point.
Here we go,
for the 350.org team and all of our allies and partners across the country
Thelma Young emails:
On Wednesday we brought together movement voices from 3 different continents to discuss why this May will be a critical time to Break Free from fossil fuels.
Nnimmo Bassey from Helping Our Mother Earth Foundation in Nigeria, Nicole Oliveira from 350 Brasil, and 350.org’s Managing Director Payal Parekh led the conversation — if you weren’t able to join the web workshop you can watch the recording below.
Over the coming weeks and months there will be many more chances to discuss the project and the future of the movement, but here are some of the big questions we covered during this talk:
What can people do who can’t go to the action locations? How can they still help and be a part of this?
• Everyone is needed: our goal is to share inspiring stories of communities resisting fossil fuel development and let local activists know they aren’t alone in this struggle.If you can’t participate directly, sharing the stories of everyone on the frontlines is essential to our shared success.
• Also, in a few days we will have a system up online where anyone can propose an action that matches the vision of what Break Free is about. This is the moment to step up our commitment to ending the fossil fuel industry and build something in its place — if you know of an action in May that matches this vision, it can still be added to the push.
• And, of course, the movement continues after May — this is an ongoing struggle that will require your participation many times in the future.
What would success look like?
• The world’s attention is drawn towards the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy. People around the world are inspired by a wave of powerful mobilisations to engage more in the movement.
Will there be training and support for the actions? Can people participate who’ve never done civil disobedience before?
• Each national mobilization is arranging for their own training and support structures — but generally, yes, this is the right moment for new people to be joining in to actions like this. We need you now more than ever.
• There is room for everyone: even if you can’t join on the front lines of the action this time, there will be crucial support roles to be filled.
• Globally, there is a growing network of organizations and activists that will make sure that the eye of worldwide public attention is directed at all the events unfolding this May.
Much more is coming soon. If you want to share updates from your area, post online and use #keepitintheground—I’ll be keeping my eye on that hashtag for great things to share.
Thank you for all your work,
Podcast Addendum No,. 1: Interview with Jonathan Porritt.