Wind Turbines and Warning Shots

Feature story - December 6, 2007
Governments meet in Bali this week to agree an action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stop climate change from inflicting severe impacts. The Rainbow Warrior is in Indonesia to add urgency to our call for climate action. Our activists have received vastly different reactions – on the one hand, they joined in a festive celebration calling for clean energy now, and on the other hand hung a banner at a coal plant as security guards fired shots in the air.

Hundreds of people stood together to spell out the words "Clean Energy Now" and the outline of a wind turbine on the site of a proposed nuclear power plant in the town of Muria, Indonesia. The Government is forging ahead with plans to build its first nuclear power plant there, in the shadow of a dormant volcano, despite mounting opposition from residents and environmental groups.

Last Friday, in Jepara, Central Java, hundreds of people gathered together to create images of "human wind turbines" on the site of a proposed nuclear power and demand clean renewable energy. Calling for "Clean Energy Now", the crew of the  Rainbow Warrior were joined by community members and activists from KRATON (the Anti-Nuclear People's Coalition) in a festive performance where hundreds of people emulated the rotating blades of a wind farm. Gavin Edwards, Head of the Climate & Energy campaign, was pleasantly surprised: "We expected 600 community members to show up. We'd asked people to dress in white, to make a nice vivid image. At the appointed time, a sea of white appeared over the hill - 1200 people!"

A festive spirit and pleasant surprises were nowhere to be found the following day, however, when security personnel from PLTU Tanjung Jati B coal power plant in Jepara, Central Java, fired five gunshots and drew knives as activists from the Rainbow Warrior climbed the coal plant's cooling tower and loading crane, hanging banners reading "Coal Kills Climate."

Both of the weekend's activities - although received extremely differently - were part of our campaign to drive home the message that governments need to shift to clean renewable energy, and not be distracted by the empty promise of nuclear power or fall back on the bad habit of continuing to build and fund coal power plants, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. Let's hope that it's the pleasant surprises that will win out this week!

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