By: Amanda Froelich,
The year of 2013 witnessed a monumental shift in public awareness and activism concerning greener energy and sustainable living methods. From India to Germany, the United States to Indonesia, people from all walks of life are demanding cleaner air and pure water.
Technological advances have allowed global social media storms, local protests, marches, and grassroots organizations to come together and speak for the growing number of people concerned about the Earth.
The time for change is now, and it’s apparent by the many examples of activists who have stepped up from all areas of the world.
One of the biggest steps forward was the large-scale renunciation of public support for new coal power plants in Indonesia and elsewhere overseas. It began when President Obama’s Climate Action Plan announced an end to financing new coal power plants abroad. This act was then followed by five Nordic countries, the UK, and large multilateral development banks like the World Bank and the European Investment Bank. And recently, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also followed suit.
The announcements reflect the growing movement of local communities who are demanding an end to dirty coal. In this revolutionary time of change, groups of people are fighting back against attacks on their air and water – and are winning!
‘Move Beyond Coal’, the inspirational report released by the Sierra Club’s International Climate Program, highlights several of these victories. The Sierra Club has been an integral force in working with groups and activists all across the world to transition away from polluting fossil fuels and into cleaner energy. It has been documented again and again that groups of allies are a powerful force for change.
From protests and rallying effort, certain Australians can now breathe easy with relief that their tourism industry won’t be affected. And in China, a tweet started a movement to shut down a proposed coal project that would pollute wildlife and adversely affect peoples’ health nearby. In Bangladesh, people organized in massive numbers as 20,000 protestors marched 250 miles in five days to oppose construction of a coal-fired power plant. These are just a few examples of the successful rallies.
Excitingly, it is now common to recognize organized communities fighting against power plants and mines in most towns and cities. And why shouldn’t it be? If the people don’t stand up for clean air, unpolluted waters, and healthy food, no changes will be adopted.
So breathe easy, the world is slowly but surely changing. Grassroots activism is empowering a large population of the world to stand up for their beliefs and protect the planet; hopefully soon, all efforts will yield an environment in which healthy food, good livelihood, and peaceful co-creation is the norm for all to experience.