Aaron Kaah Yancho in Cameroon
May 03, 2016
A global wave of peaceful direct actions lasting for 12 days has kicked off today across six continents targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects, under the banner of Break Free.
2015 was the hottest year ever recorded and the impacts of climate change are already hitting communities around the world. From rising sea levels to extreme storms, the need to act on climate change has never been more urgent. Added to that, the fossil fuel industry faces an unprecedented crisis — from collapsing prices, massive divestments, a new global climate deal, and an ever-growing movement calling for change. The time has never been better for a just transition to a clean energy system.
To harness the moment, activists and concerned citizens committed to addressing climate change – from international groups to local communities to individual citizens – will unite to ensure that strong pressure is maintained to force energy providers, as well as local and national governments, to implement the policies and additional investments needed to completely break free from fossil fuels.
People worldwide are providing the much needed leadership by intensifying actions through peaceful civil disobedience on a global scale as so much remains to be done in order to lessen the effects of the climate crisis. This includes demanding governments move past the commitments made as part of the Paris agreement signed last month.
In order to address the current climate crisis and keep global warming below 1.5C, fossil fuel projects need to be shelved and existing infrastructure needs to be replaced now that renewable energy is more affordable and widespread than ever before. The only way to achieve this is by keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerating the shift to 100% renewable energy. During Break Free people worldwide are rising up to make sure this is the case.
In Africa, the actions are taking place in Nigeria and South Africa.
In Nigeria, in the Niger Delta actions will be held in three iconic locations to show what happens when the oil goes dry, and the community is left with the pollution and none of the wealth. An action at Ogoni land will demand an urgent clean-up of decades old oil spills and underscore how it is possible for citizens to resist the power of the oil corporations, and keep their oil in the ground where it belongs. Another action will be on the Atlantic coast, where Exxon’s offshore wells frequently leak, impact fisheries and harm coastline communities’ livelihoods.
In South Africa, two actions will take place each with hundreds of people highlighting the local impacts of coal and climate change. The first on 12 May will see people gathering in Emalahleni, one of the most polluted towns in the world, to speak out on the effects of climate change. The second on 14 May is focused on the Gupta residence in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.