Fossil Free Digest

Organizers from Eastern Europe gather in Mykolaiv, Ukraine to kick off a new climate leadership program

Dear Ed,

The victories we share in this newsletter don't come out of nowhere. Progress towards a Fossil Free world is won by groups of people organizing with skill and planning together for the change they want to create.

In this edition we look at some of the organizer trainings and leadership meetings held around the world just in the last week – from France and Ukraine, to Kenya and Canada. We're helping to catalyze the people power and climate leadership needed to achieve our movement's goals.

Do you know anyone who might want to come along with you to an organiser training for the first time? 

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In Case You Missed It

Young people in Ukraine didn't let a blizzard stop them from coming together to share best practices at 'Activate Energy – 2019'. They were building on recent progress from cities in Eastern Europe that passed resolutions for 100% renewable energy. And in the Philippines, young people gathered on the beautiful (snowless) island of Negros to build up campaigning skills and link their local campaigns to keep the island coal-free to resistance growing nationally. Meanwhile, in Kenya, people leading campaigns across Africa traveled to Nairobi for the week-long Afrika Vuka gathering. And in the U.S., the Promise to Protect training tour was announced – in 9 cities, it'll train up a new wave of people to stand against the destructive Keystone XL pipeline that Trump's determined to get built. 

Members of the 'Clean Indonesia' coalition brought symbols of the energy transition to the National Election Commission in Jakarta. Photo: Gary Lotulung

A national movement is growing ahead of Indonesia's presidential elections this April. In Jakarta, activists from 350 Indonesia along with other groups staged an art protest. They're demanding that presidential candidates show real, actionable commitments to a just transition to 100% renewable energy for Indonesia. The action was strategically timed ahead of the second Presidential debate, which focused on energy, food security, and environmental problems. 

On the last day of Powershift: Young and Rising, young people put new campaigning skills into practice at a rally outside Canada's parliament. Photo: Alan Lissner

Over 400 people from across Canada gathered in the nation's capital, Ottawa, on Algonquin Anishinable land for a four-day exchange to build up young leadership. The convergence covered topics of Indigenous knowledge, storytelling, intersectional movement building, Momentum-driven organizing, and non-violence direct action training. A mass march shut down the streets of Ottawa, from Parliament Hill to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers office. People also went out canvassing to talk to skaters-by on the Rideau canal about what a Green New Deal could look like in Canada; new podcast The Leap  also covered a Green New Deal for Canada with Varshini Prakash in its premiere episode. Oh, AND, new reports show climate strikes have spread to Canada now too, like this one in Montreal.

A thunderous coalition of First Nations and allies sat-in at Australia's parliament in Canberra. Photo: Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network

On the other side of the world, young members of SEED, Australia's indigenous youth climate network, staged a powerful sit-in with Pacific Warriors in the Parliament's marble foyer to highlight dangers of fracking in the Northern Territory, the Murray Darling crisis and lack of water. Just a few days later, Adani's ruthless legal strategy for stamping out opposition to their controversial Queensland mine was leaked, and sixteen people in India filed a lawsuit against the company to strike down a sketchy land acquisition for a new thermal plant. 

And finally, in France, a Fossil Free gathering took place days after a new law to divest public savings funds was submitted to the National Assembly. Divestment has been steadily racking up wins outside of France too: in the UK, Sewlyn College Cambridge sold its £890,000 stake in Royal Dutch Shell, and Essex and Keele universities made commitments while hundreds showed up for a day of action at the British Museum to denounce BP's sponsorship of an Iraqi stolen objects exhibition.

Still with us? Also in the last week, Itochu in Japan pledged to end financing to thermal coal plants and Glencore announced a surprising new cap on coal production. But only on coal production.

The Inside Story 

Renan Andrade investigates the Vale dam collapse in Brazil. 

In January, a devastating dam collapse in Brazil killed 150 and caused irreparable damage to the local environment. In this special interview, campaigner Renan Andrade shares what he found out in the aftermath of the collapse after spending a week in the area, and reflects on just how crucial social and environmental organizing is to advocate for communities at risk.

The One to Watch

In Turkey, intense momentum is building ahead of municipal elections, with climate victories on all fronts this month.  Grassroots groups are celebrating the parliament's withdrawal of 'Article 45', which would've allowed exemptions on pollution for privatized coal power plants to run until 2021. Many coal plants were cancelled or postponed, including the iconic Bartın plant which has been an important symbol of hope for the movement. Watch the video rundown for more on all the wins.

Don't forget to forward this edition to a friend – this way we can get our message further.

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That's it for now! See you in two weeks with more of your news.