This issue of Fossil Free News was first published as an email on October 18. Sign up here for future editions.
Galvanized by the UN report on 1.5˚C, tens of thousands around the world seized this moment of public attention on climate change to make our demands clear: a 1.5˚C world is possible, but it requires sweeping change to end the fossil fuel age, right now.
In France, where I’m writing from, over 100,000 mobilized for the second time in over two months, this time in 86 cities and towns across the country. They were joined by people on the frontlines of climate change in Bangladesh, groups of family and friends delivering copies of the report to local MPs across Australia, and many others over the last week.
We don’t expect it to slow down. This is the beginning of a renewed push to bring the three Fossil Free demands home, wherever we live: 1) no fossil fuel projects, 2) not a penny more in financial support for the industry, and 3) an accelerated shift to a 100% renewable energy economy that works for everyone. In this moment when our leaders seem so out of touch with the reality communities are facing, we have to engage on an entirely new level. It’s up to us to provide the leadership.
Take a look at what local campaigns around the world have been doing in the last 2 weeks, and find some inspiration for your campaigns (or click below to start one where you live.)
Last week, as people around the world reacted to the UN’s news that we’re currently nowhere close to hitting the 1.5˚C target that is a redline for so many communities, people were organising. In Switzerland, 7,000 marched straight to the banks funding climate chaos to deliver the report. In Australia, a distributed method saw many small groups meeting with local MPs to urge them to take a Fossil Free approach. And in the Philippines, communities organized consultations on what the report means for them and their organising. Read the roundup here of the different tactics people are using – and expect more actions to come.
More progress on divestment: Just after Asian movements published a letter urging the World Bank to be more stringent on coal funding, the World Bank has officially ended its support for the last coal mine on their books, in Kosovo. Interestingly, they cited the lower cost of renewables as their rationale. And in California, the city of Fremont passed a resolution on divestment, while a San Francisco pension fund is using the tactic to force companies to change their investment behavior. In New York, new evidence has been published that each pensioner would be almost $20,000 richer had the state fund divested from fossil fuels 10 years ago. That makes them $22 billion poorer altogether.
Amidst all the mainstream media focus and number-heavy reporting swirling last week around the 1.5˚C report, you might have missed the People’s Dossier on 1.5˚C. It gathers 13 impressive stories of frontline fossil fuel resistance around the globe, centering the human stories behind the struggle to keep the climate crisis in check. A longer but highly recommended read — these communities’ leadership, even in the face of direct impacts from climate change, is truly inspiring.
Last weekend, 20 local climate activists from 10 US-based local 350 groups gathered in Knoxville, Tennessee for the inaugural weekend of the first Heart and Muscle Cohort. Over the next year, Heart and Muscle Cohort members will receive individualized coaching, training and support to help them run effective and inclusive campaigns to combat climate change at the local level.
With representatives from Juneau, Alaska to East Chicago, Indiana and New Orleans, the Heart and Muscle Cohort represents a broad swath of local communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel industry destruction and climate impacts. Over the weekend, they received training on narrative strategy, coalition building and goal-setting for their campaigns over the next year. The training was held at the historic Highlander Research and Education Center — the same place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks received activist training before the launch of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Cohort members had an opportunity to soak in the history of Highlander and locate themselves within a legacy of broad struggle for racial, gender, labor and climate justice.
Activists in Brazil have translated this impressive video showcasing their actions outside an oil and gas auction in Rio. It details the threats that local communities, including many indigenous communities, will face if extraction in these areas goes ahead.
Galvanized by last week’s report, thousands of you took action around the world to deliver the UN’s report on 1.5C to leaders in power. It’s only the beginning. Watch and share this video of the actions – and how we can channel frustration on slow progress into tangible demands to keep us below 1.5˚C. And if you didn’t take part and deliver a copy of the report to your local leaders, it’s never too late to organise a simple delivery action. An in-person meeting is so much more powerful than simply calling your local representative – and there’s a host of downloadable posters and creative suggestions for making an even bigger impact.