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5 Communities Sticking It to Fossil Fuel Companies—and Winning

No Fracking Falkirk: Peaceful Protest "The People's Voice" Sunday 7 December 2014. Photo by Flickr user Ric Lander. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

No Fracking Falkirk: Peaceful Protest “The People's Voice” on Sunday 7 December 2014. Photo by Flickr user Ric Lander. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This article was written by Thelma Young for 350.organ organization building a global climate movement, and is republished on Global Voices as part of a content-sharing agreement.

In January, communities around the world saw victories in long, hard-fought struggles against fossil fuel companies. Here are five of them.

1. Carson, California, USA

The community fought for years, and in January the California Resources Corp. decided to pull their proposed project of 200 oil wells. Here’s the story.

“We don’t have to worry about our water that we drink, we don’t have to worry about our air quality that we breathe.… We’re talking about a way of life for us.” –Dianne Thomas, Carson Coalition community group

2. Scotland

Yup, you heard this right — Scotland announced an indefinite ban on fracking. Scots understand there is no such thing as safe fracking — for people, the planet or the climate.

However, the move is not comprehensive as it does not include stopping underground coal gasification – this is where coal is set alight underground and gas collected at the surface. But still, this is a big win!

“The Government’s decision today is testament to the perseverance of people and communities around the country who have tirelessly fought this industry in recent years.” —Friends of the Earth Scotland

3. Chile’s Maule coast

The 750-megawatt coal-fired power plant was first proposed in 2007, and since then a diverse citizens’ movement, the Citizens Action for the Defense of the Maule Coast, has been fighting. They fought it long enough that the company, AES Gener, lost their permit and the project is dead.  Here’s the story.

“The community was organised, was active and was emphatic in defining their own development path.”–Rodrigo de la O, convener of the Maule Itata Coastkeeper and a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance

4. São Paulo, Brazil

A judge granted an injunction suspending the gas exploration process in west São Paulo, as well as halting plans for fracking. Read the story in Portuguese.

5. Marrickville, Australia

On January 27, the Marrickville Council, a city in New South Wales, voted to offload its investments in fossil fuels. As a first step, the council will be ensuring over $15 million dollars are no longer invested in fossil fuels, with an aim to increase this amount. Here’s the story.

“Marrickville Council has a strong commitment to combating climate change, with programs aimed at cutting emissions. By adopting this motion we will prefer financial institutions that avoid funding fossil fuels, such as coal ports on the Great Barrier Reef, or coal seam gas projects in Camden,” says Councillor Max Phillips, who moved the fossil free motion.

The fight isn't over. On February 13 and 14, Global Divestment Day will be taking place with close to 500 events in 58 countries across six continents. People around the world will be standing up to the fossil fuel industry, sending a clear message that it's time to end the era of fossil fuels and transition to clean, renewable sources of energy to protect people and planet. 

Our work building bridges across cultures, languages and perspectives is more urgent than ever before.

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