Top 10 People-Powered Moments of 2019 Looking back on a year of progress

Top 10 People-Powered Moments of 2019


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2019 has been a hell of a year!  At this most urgent time, when most institutionspolitical leaders and many brands are failing the trust test amid staggering inequality and social upheaval, we are seeing new kinds of influence taking power.  From the youngest generations to the oldest, people with a cause drive change and connect with us in ways that has never happened before.  Though we are running late and there are many key measures that are still moving in the wrong direction, there are actions that signal change is coming.

To conclude this remarkable decade of climate activism, where more people than ever are rising up to the challenges that we face, here is the list of 10 moments of 2019 to be remembered. 

1. Millions strike for the climate

The Climate Strikes of 2019 were groundbreaking. With just shy of 8 million people from 185 countries taking part. The protests were on front pages across the world, giving all of us hope that the good work will continue to push forward into 2020. The conscience and inspiration is Greta Thunberg is the Time Magazine Person of the Year. She is the youngest individual ever to receive this recognition which says as much about the moment and the year 2019 as it does about her.  “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.  How dare you.” 

2. Asian Banks dump coal

The world’s fifth largest bank, Japan’s MUFG, tightened its lending policy in May, when it announced an end to new project finance for coal power. Campaigners targeted Asian banks financing coal, especially in Japan, and it’s working. Singapore’s big three banks also announced they were ending financing to new coal plants earlier this year

3. Divestment milestone

In September, Investors committed to divest from oil, coal and gas companies to the amount of $11 trillion USD, blowing past last years $10 trillions goal by 2020. As of September that number has reached almost $12 trillion!

4. Brazilian states ban fracking

In an amazing victory after years of campaigning, the state of Paraná in Brazil passed a law in July to permanently ban fracking – and Santa Catarina followed weeks later. It means Latin America’s largest shale reserves will go untapped, with 18 million people safe from the direct impacts of fracking.

5. Lamu, saved

After years of resistance, in June a Kenya tribunal cancelled a developer’s license to build a new coal plant at Lamu, an amazing coastal UNESCO world heritage site. It was a victory, made even sweeter by the fact that the court recognized the lack of public participation and risks to people and the environment. See the celebration.

6. Afrika Vuka launch

This is a new platform made to unite grass root campaigns across Africa so that resources and learnings can be shared across groups working to halt the spread of fossil fuel infrastructure and promote the use of renewable energies. Thanks to groups sharing resources through this platform, South Africa’s Nedbank became the first bank in Africa to stop financing for coal.

7. Williams pipeline moratorium

Thanks to the work of Activists, New York’s Governor has halted the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline which would bring fracked gas to New York City. The company has re-applied for their construction permits but activists continue to push for a permanent ban and a Green New Deal to make sure it never gets built

8. Fossil Free EIB

The worlds largest international public bank, The European Investment Bank (EIB) has decided to not lend to fossil fuels as part of its lending policy and has actually permanently ended support for most of their current fossil fuel projects.

9. Promise to protect

In the effort to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and protect water and ancestral lands, Indigenous leaders and allies held a March-May training tour for 1,160 people in nine cities across the USA. While construction continues to be debated and delayed, people across the USA are preparing for creative resistance in case it resumes

10. Europe’s gas does not pass

The MidCat pipeline between Spain and France, and Gothenburg terminal in Sweden were both cancelled, while fracking was banned in the UK. Read more.

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