Africans want the continent to #BreakFree from fossil fuels

Press release - May 25, 2018
Johannesburg, South Africa - Today, Africa Day, citizens and communities in almost 20 countries across the African continent are gathering, taking to the streets and actively blocking the fossil fuel economy as part of a continent-wide day of action.

By joining the Break Free movement, regular citizens and activists from communities across Africa will call on governments and business to put an end to fossil fuels and move towards a just transition to 100% renewable energy for all.

There are over 30 events registered, in which those hardest hit by fossil fuels projects and the impacts of climate change will make their voices heard by those in power.

Some of these events include:

  • A picket in Lephalale where communities will call for the cancellation of the local proposed private coal-fired power station, Thabametsi;

  • A photo exhibition showcasing the work of anti-coal activists (Lamu);

  • Representatives from coal mining affected communities will denounce the effects of coal mining (Abuja);

  • ACRP will update local decision makers on the realities of climate change and discuss their plans and progress towards shifting to 100% renewable energy (Johannesburg);

  • Anti coal activists will be mobilising in Bargny, Ngadje beach to oppose the launch of the first coal power plant in (Senegal).

The Break Free movement in Africa is co-ordinated by Greenpeace Africa, African Climate Reality Project (ACRP), 350.org and Earthlife Africa Jhb: empowering local communities to rise with acts of courage and come together as a global movement for climate action and justice.

Content for documentation will be made available on the co-ordinating organisations’ social media platforms, including soundbites from our Break Free podcasts and hi-res images of the local events.

Quotes:

“Funding fossil fuel development will only exacerbate the impacts of climate change. Africa has an opportunity to develop its energy sector using clean, renewable energy. It is this development that banks and financial institutions should support, and break free from financing fossil fuels. It's time to deCOALonise Africa!" -  Landry Ninteretse, Regional Team leader, 350.org

"South Africa’s almost complete reliance on coal for electricity has severe consequences for water. To protect our right to clean and accessible drinking water, we must Break Free from coal and irrational water-intensive projects like Thabametsi must be stopped. There are effective alternatives to coal, but there are no alternatives to water" - Nhlanhla Sibisi, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa.

“Declaring War against mother earth is suicidal, because no one gives breath best like she does. Coal fired power stations are a giant ticking time bomb, waiting to explode.” - Thabo Sibeko, Programs & Education Officer, Earthlife Africa.

“By having more fossil fuels burning in South Africa we expect to see increased climate change impacts in our country – and that’s from a bigger, long term perspective. By developing in water-stressed regions, coal-fired power stations would be undermining a crucial resource that they need to run, while putting extreme pressure on the surrounding communities’ basic needs”. – Gillian Hamilton, ACRP Branch Manager. 

Notes:

350.org is building the global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to science and justice.

Earthlife Africa is a non profit organisation that encourages and supports individuals, businesses and industries to reduce pollution, minimise waste and protect our natural resources.

Greenpeace Africa is an independent environmental campaigning organization with a vision of ‘an Africa where people live in harmony with nature in a peaceful state of environmental and social justice’.

The African Climate Reality Project works with African Climate Leaders, governments, NGOs and scientists across the continent to create tools and resources to support a network of African leaders who mobilise communities to find solutions to climate change.

Contacts:

; Greenpeace Africa Head of Communication; +27 71 688 1274 

350.org Africa Communications Coordinator; +27 81 464 9726 

; Earthlife Africa, Programs & Education Officer 

; ACRP Communications Officer; +27 11 656 9802 / +27842570627