2017 has been a tough year for the climate movement, progressive causes, civil society, and the many communities who have been deeply impacted by climate change. But despite all the challenges, 350.org mobilized and pushed hard for a fossil free future, all around the world. We marched with hundreds of thousands in the streets, stopped major fossil fuel projects like Energy East, won enormous divestment commitments, and supported powerful front line voices who spoke truth to power. Despite all the challenges, we are still able to end the year on a high note with irreversible momentum on our side going into the new year.
We asked some of 350’s staff members around the world to reflect on their highlights from the past year, and what has help them keep.
We are deeply grateful to all our partners, allies and supporters. The wins we have seen this year is because of incredible efforts of people around the world. You can share your own highlights from 2017 online using #2017ClimateStories
What has been the most impactful action your team organized this year and why?
Prince Papa, Kenya
Launching deCOALonise.Africa, a campaign meant to rid the African continent from energy colonisation.
For me it was our actions during the auctions of blocks for oil and gas exploration and the provisional measure that gives for the oil and gas industry hundreds of billions in tax cuts. As I am new in 350.org, having participated in these actions have shown me how to combat fossil fuels is an intense but necessary mission.
We were involved in supporting grassroots group Reclaim the Power to organise the Rolling Resistance – a month of direct action against the fracking industry in Lancashire. For the whole month of July, thousands of people from across the country came to support the local resistance in Lancashire and took action to disrupt Cuadrilla.
Working with Ende Gelände, the Pacific Climate Warriors and frontline communities from the Rhineland to join forces and confront Germany’s massive coal mining. It’s been so impactful at so many levels. It’s been such a powerful story that had a real influence on the narrative around the COP and the German debate around coal. It’s also been hugely inspiring for the different groups involved and has engaged so many more people on a deeply emotional level. Such a movement-igniting moment!
It’s hard to believe it was this year, but the Peoples Climate March in DC. Instead of backing down after Trump’s election, we rose up and fought back. For the hundreds of thousands of people who took part in the march in DC and actions nationwide, I think this year’s Peoples Climate March provided a much needed dose of inspiration and hope. It helped set the tone for the year ahead: that we would fight like hell to resist Trump’s agenda and drive forward solutions in our own communities.
Juan Pablo, Argentina
Participating in the organization of the March in Defense of the Acuifero Guarani, in Uruguay, Latin America. Because it was a pride to participate on behalf of 350.org and somehow, I believed that it was possible to influence the announcement of the suspension of activities of the company Petrel Energy and the moratorium for 4 years for the exploitation of fracking at the level national election unanimously in the Senate of Uruguay.
One of the high point of the year for me was the defeat of the Energy East pipeline. In many ways, this fight is one of the reasons I’m working at 350.org right now. Initially, I came on board to support the cross-country movement that was scaling up to oppose this project — the largest tar sands pipeline in North America. People in my hometown really threw down to make sure this would never be built, as did so many inspiring groups I’ve organized with and frontline communities leaders I’ve learned so much from. So many people dedicated immense efforts because of how Energy East would have trampled over Indigenous rights, accelerated climate change, threatened clean water sources, and lock us in the frenzy of tar sands expansion for several more decades. But mostly because people cared about justice and about each other enough to believe they could stop the project. And a learning I’m taking into 2018 is that this massive win came from people organizing to steer how this story was unfolding, and big iconic fights really matter as the climate crisis accelerates — it shifts the sense of what is even possible. Even as other fossil fuel projects get proposed and even as they get approved, that’s what our work is about.
“The thing that gives us the most hope in this movement, are the people in the movement.”
May Boeve, Executive Director 350.org
After all the craziness in 2017, what experiences, lessons or people are fueling you to keep fighting in 2018 and beyond?
The people whose lives are on the line because of climate impacts and fossil fuel extraction keep inspiring me: their resilience, strength, skills, discipline, optimism, courage, love (for one another, for their land, for their community, for the planet), laughter.
We don’t have to follow the mainstream. When there seems to be a little room for you to contribute, create your own space to do the best you can do. When no one in the organisation recognises the small winning, celebrate your small winning with new partners who share the same struggle with you.
It’s cross movement collaborations and conversations around how to expand how we think about movements that are fueling me. Intentionality around uplifting frontline voices — ex. seeing young black youth leading the Sandy5 march are very key.
When things feel hard and like everything is stacked against you – those are the moments when your voice and resistance matters most. You can’t give up – even if you don’t see victory in sight.
In our context we are reminded to take more caution and to be more intentional in documenting our work not only in terms of writing but more so in video forms as it gives audiences a glimpse of how the struggle is not just mere updates in a blog or an email it is something lived and experienced. We are quite proud that at 350 Pilipinas that we are able to be more active on that end
Glen, South Africa
Our work with partners is beginning to bear fruit, and we’re looking forward to taking it public! It’s taken a while to gain some trust (and there is lots more to build), but it is so clear that we are stronger when working together – if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together – so so true!
Videos from 350 mobilisations, actions, events, and from the frontlines of climate change.