I cannot describe my feeling other than I am absolutely overwhelmed.
The Rainbow Warrior sailed to the province of Prachuab Kiri Khan (PKK), home to one of the strongest community oppositions against coal in Thailand. A fleet of over 30 fishing boats full of people wearing the movement’s green T-shirts greeted the Rainbow Warrior on its arrival. A fantastic welcome followed and you could literally feel what a symbol of hope the ship is. Over 1000 people had gathered from all over the province. These communities have a fantastic track record of success regarding shelving plans to construct coal fired power stations along their stunning coast.
Even the international investment media acknowledges that “new generating capacity in Thailand may make slow progress due to local and environmentalist opposition, in spite of initiatives to give incentives to local communities prepared to host plants”. Isn’t that what we want all over the planet? Showing companies and governments that there is no social acceptance of coal, one of the most climate damaging ways to generate power, anymore! Well, the communities in PKK are leading the way!
One of the reasons why the government doesn’t give up insisting on a new coal fired power plant (their plans are getting bigger and bigger: now they want to construct 4000MW!), is that they want to build a steel smelting plant (very energy intensive). For that they are prepared to completely destroy the beautiful community swamp forest. The community has been occupying the forest for the last 2 years to defend it against the bulldozers that are sent in at night to destroy it and make way for “development”. Big industry developments are supposed to get community agreement but somehow they just continue anyway, even if they cannot get.
In the afternoon over 1000 people came together in the pouring rain to form a human banner spreading out the message that they want the government to acknowledge: Quit Coal. I have never met people that committed.
One of the most impressive events of the day was to get to know the wife of a local anti-coal activist who was murdered 4 years ago for his investigations and activities. Looking into her eyes I could see not just the pain of losing the person you love but an incredible determination to continue his fight for a coal free PKK.
I have never felt more inspired to bring out the message to the world.