CounterAct provides training, capacity building and resources to environmental and social justice campaigners across Australia.

30 000 people Broke Free


Posted on May 18th, by Counteractive in Uncategorized. No Comments

30 000 people Broke Free

What an amazing two weeks as we watched the world Break Free from fossil fuels. Some would say it was poetry.

The last of the Break Free global actions has just rolled out and it has been called the single biggest act of coordinated resistance to fossil fuels in history. From the stunning display of Ende Gelande in Germany, to Ogoni resistance in Nigeria, Philippines and ten other countries, 30 000 people participated in 20 huge actions on six continents. The movement has set our terms.

In Australia on the 8th May nearly 2,000 people participated in the largest single act of civil disobedience in the history of Australia’s climate movement. Together people stopped any coal coming into, or going out of, the world’s largest coal ports at Newcastle.

Working with allies in 350.org, Front Line Action on Coal, traditional custodians, pacific islanders, many grassroots climate groups from across Australia, and Newcastle locals, the movement delivered a powerful statement to the politicians on day 1 of the election trail and world leaders alike: we must break free from fossil fuels.

At Newcastle’s coal port, a flotilla of 300 kayaks blocked the harbour all day. First on the water were traditional custodians, followed by Pacific Islands in traditional canoes. The day was incredibly uplifting, with many people taking part in who had never been involved in this type of nonviolent action before.

Working with a great team we supported the peaceful flotilla, as we heard inspiring speakers, and managed two stages – one on land, and one on the beautiful red catamaran, Gaia’s dream, which hosted Ash Grunwald, Rob Hirst, Uncle Bunna Lawrie and inspiring traditional custodian speakers from around the country… all with a great view of colourful kayaktivists!

Meanwhile, elsewhere across Newcastle, actions rolled out across rail and coal infrastructure as people aged three months to 93 years old put themselves on the line to disrupt coal export in powerful acts of civil disobedience.

A tremendous amount of planning, training, recruitment, safety checks, logistics and relationship building went into #BreakFree2016. We’d like to thank the many people that took time off work to spend long days bringing together a complicated action. We’d like to pay respect to the traditional custodians on whose lands the action took place, and who gathered from across this country to take action. We also pay special respect to the Pacific Islanders whose countries bear the brunt of climate change first and hardest.

You can see how the day unfolded here, check out the flickr album, or share the video. As a reflection of the seismic shift that is taking place, the editorial of the Newcastle Herald acknowledged that coal was losing its battle for legitimacy.

Now, lets hope our politicians realise this during the election campaign.





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