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Activists take part in a climate march through Santa Cruz, CA, in November 2015. (Photo: 350.org/flickr/cc.)

Climate Coalition Vows 'Peaceful, Escalated' Actions Until 'We Break Free from Fossil Fuels'

'For years, communities on the front lines have led that struggle, and this May we can join them.'

Nika Knight Beauchamp

A global coalition of climate activists are joining together in a new civil disobedience campaign, Break Free from Fossil Fuels, seeking to to disrupt the power of the fossil fuel industry through "a series of peaceful, escalated actions...targeting the world’s most dangerous and unnecessary fossil fuel projects" in May, the environmental group 350.org announced on Wednesday.

Six months after nations vowed to limit global warming in Paris, weeks after thermometers registered a record-breaking warm winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and in the midst of a renewable energy boom, thousands of grassroots activists who are determined to uphold the spirit of that climate agreement are coordinating efforts to take down Big Oil through peaceful global protest.

From the U.K. to Brazil, from Nigeria to the Philippines, the Break Free platform is uniting a broad coalition of international, national, and local groups performing actions around the world. "Fighting climate change requires the courage to confront polluters where they think they are most powerful," Break Free's website announces. "For years, communities on the front lines have led that struggle, and this May we can join them."

The online platform allows those interested to look up planned actions in their own country to take part in.

"Ramped up civil disobedience will show that the [fossil fuel] industry’s social license to operate is fast evaporating," 350.org declared. "Such peaceful civil disobedience brings people from all walks of life, and not just seasoned climate activists, to challenge both politicians and polluters to accelerate the unstoppable energy transition already underway."

Historian Jeremy Brecher hailed Break Free as the beginning of a "climate insurgency":

Break Free From Fossil Fuels may be the harbinger for a global nonviolent climate insurgency. It is globally coordinated, with common principles, strategy, planning and messaging. It is utilizing nonviolent direct action not only as an individual moral witness, but also to express and mobilize the power of the people on which all government ultimately depends. It presents climate protection not only as a moral but as a legal right and duty, necessary to protect the Constitution and the public trust for ourselves and our posterity. It represents an insurgency because it denies the right of the existing powers and principalities – be they corporate or governmental – to use the authority of law to justify their destruction of the earth’s climate.

"Crude oil is already history and has no future," Nnimmo Bassey, a Nigerian activist from the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, said in a statement. "We cannot allow fossil fuel addicts to burn the planet. The time for the shift is now. No one will set us free. We must break free ourselves, now."


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