Climate Action: Can We Change the Climate From the Grassroots Up?

Written by on June 22, 2019 in Climate Change, Environment, Environmental Hazards with 0 Comments
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Ecuador Waorani indigenous people

/ Ecuador's Waorani indigenous people celebrated a court ruling against oil extraction on their ancestral lands

 

By Irene Banos Ruiz | EcoWatch

Alarming headlines regarding the climate crisis often overshadow positive actions taken by citizens around the world, but that doesn't mean they're not happening.

They are, and sometimes with considerable success. DW looks at some civil society victories.

Blocking Fossil Fuels

Despite scientific warnings, governments and companies continue to green light fossil fuel projects around the world. But in many instances, these authorizations are accompanied by protests.

1. Hema Thermal Power Plant

Earlier this year, after more than a decade of vocal opposition to the planned Hema thermal power plant, villagers in the coastal Turkish region of Amasra welcomed a court ruling that rejected its construction. Locals had not only feared the destruction of their land, but also the impacts on their health and that of their children.

Amasra villagers have been protesting for years to prevent the construction of a power plant.

The win is a milestone for Turkish climate activists, whose struggle to stop the expansion of fossil fuel plants in the country still has a long way to go.

2. Rocky Hill Open-Cut Mine

Locals around the Australian town of Gloucester experienced similar satisfaction when a national court rejected a plan to build the Rocky Hill open-cut coal mine on the basis that it would increase greenhouse gas emissions at a time when they needed to be reduced. It took those involved in fighting the plans about a decade to achieve success.

It took protesters a decade to fight plans of an open-cut coal mine.

The judge said the negative impacts outweighed its economic and public benefits. Australia is the fourth largest coal producer in the world.

3. Hambach Forest

Germany has become the setting for one of the most iconic fights against coal mining in Europe.

Hundreds of people have spent five years living in tree houses in a bit to prevent a tiny fraction of the Hambach forest in North Rhine-Westphalia from being razed for the expansion of a nearby open-pit coal mine that has already devoured dozens of villages and 90% of the forest.

In 2018, the anti-coal movement brought together thousands of people in Germany's biggest climate march. A few months later, authorities agreed on a moratorium on logging. Only until 2020, however, so theirs is a bittersweet victory.

4. Divesting Money

More and more people are demanding that investors, such as faith-based organizations and pension funds, withdraw their financial support from fossil fuel projects. The global divestment movement has convinced over 1,000 institutions to commit to divesting from oil, coal and gas companies. This translates to almost $8 trillion (€7 trillion) less in assets from fossil fuel investments.

“The momentum has been driven by a people-powered grassroots movement, ordinary people on every continent pushing their local institutions to take a stand against the fossil fuel industry and for a world powered by 100% renewable energy,” the NGO 350.org says.

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