Canada breakfree2016

BreakFree2016 was an unprecedented wave of people power. 

Over 12 days, on 6 continents, in countries all around the world people acted.

In Germany thousands shut down Europe’s largest coal plant occupying it for over 48hrs, and reducing the plant’s capacity by 80 percent.

Hundreds stood up to South Africa’s most powerful family with a march that delivered coal to their front door. 

south africa breakfree

Photo by: Shayne Robinson | Mutiny Media

10,000 marched against a proposed coal plant in Batangas, the Philippines.

3,000 sent an ear-splitting message to Indonesia’s president with a whistle demonstration against coal in Jakarta, and a few days later 12 activists climbed the cranes supplying coal for the Cirebon Coal Power Plant, and dropping banners to Quit Coal and for Clean Energy, Clean Air.

indonesia breakfree

Photo: Greenpeace Indonesia

In Australia, an armada of kayakers blocked the Newcastle harbour entrance while 70 people blocked a critical rail crossing preventing any coal from getting to the port for over six hours.

In Aliaga, Turkey 2000 people marched to the gates of the Izmir region’s largest coal dump, and surrounded it with a giant red line, as a call to end plans for the massive expansion of coal in the country.

turkey breakfree

Photo: 350 Turkiye

Dozens of people occupied train tracks overnight on both coasts of the United States to stop oil-filled ‘bomb trains’ from rolling through communities — including less than 100 feet from low-income public housing in Albany, New York.

And on unceded Coast Salish Territories outside of Vancouver over 800 surrounded Kinder Morgans pipeline terminal by land and by sea preventing anything from coming in or out for the entire day.

Canada breakfree2016

And that’s just to name a few.

In total tens of thousands took to the streets, occupied mines, blocked rail lines, linked arms, paddled in kayaks and raised their voices, pushing the boundaries of conventional protest to find new ways to keep coal, oil, gas and tarsands in the ground.

Thousands, world-wide risked arrest — many for the first time — to say that it’s time to Break Free from the current energy paradigm that is locking the planet into a future of catastrophic climate change and speed the transition to a 100% renewable energy future.

Driving this unprecedented wave of demonstrations is the sudden and dramatic acceleration in the warming of the planet. April shattered all temperature records becoming the seventh straight month to do so.  Fires, fueled by record dry temperatures, are raging across North America and Russia.  Just this week, it was reported that, 5 Solomon Islands have been swalled by the rising seas.

Combined with the growing planetary warning signs is the growing gap between world governments’ stated climate ambitions, and their demonstrated actions in approving new fossil fuel projects. Breakfree was about starting to close that gap.

I’m not sure if Prime Minister Trudeau follows hashtags but I hope that for a short time he followed #breakfree2016. I hope he saw the amazing stories of courageous people pouring in from countries around the world. Stories of people standing up, of people taking the actions we need to take, and pushing us all to breakfree from fossil fuels and speed the move to a 100% renewable energy future.

Break free shows that all around the world people are ready to act and that if a leader is ready to move on climate change then we will be there to support them.

The clock is ticking fast, we don’t have any time to waste, its time to restore the balance.