Blockadia map reveals global rise of anti-fossil fuel blockades
A new interactive map shows the rise of Blockadia: the direct-action phenomenon of people putting their bodies in the way of fossil fuel projects. In the last decade, Blockadia actions started in at least 48 places, compared to only 8 that started in the ten previous years.
On Sunday, the ‘Ende Gelände’ group plans to block Europe’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses once again: the enormous lignite coal mine near to Bonn. This is just one of 70 cases pictured in the Blockadia Map. In 16 cases, the targeted fossil fuel project was also stopped.
The map’s release coincides with the Peoples Climate March in Bonn this weekend. World leaders will gather on Monday to discuss the lack of progress on the already agreed goal to limit greenhouse gas emissions so much that the resulting temperature rise remains “well below 2°C”.
Nick Meynen, Environmental Justice Project Officer at the European Environmental Bureau said:
Blockadia activist have to risk jail or even death for what they do, but in the face of the massive political failure on climate change they think more in terms of what is legitimate than what is legal. They put their safety at risk to protect all of us. Having a scientific community supporting them, for example with the Blockadia Map, means a lot these people.
Professor Joan Martínez-Alier from ICTA-Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona said:
Since the 1990s, communities and organizations from Ecuador to Nigeria and the Philippines and many other countries, oppose coal, oil or gas extraction and burning not only because of local health and livelihood reasons but also because of the need to keep the “unburnable fuels” in the ground to prevent climate change. Some of the militants have paid with their lives.
The Blockadia map shows the global nature of direct actions for climate justice. The map’s researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Lund University (Sweden) and Universidad del Magdalena (Colombia) also found that indigenous peoples have been the first and fiercest opponents in most of the contested fossil fuel projects.
Both the World Meteorological Organisation and the UN’s environmental body raised the alarm this week about the acceleration of greenhouse gas emissions and the associated consequences.
 Blockadia is a term popularised by Naomi Klein after it was used by activists against the Keystone XL Pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands. It describes the “roving transnational conflict zone” where “people are stepping in where leaders are failing”.