16 Nov Red Carpet against Coal with Pacific Climate Warriors
16 November, 2017. Germany – High level delegates to the UN Climate Conference were greeted by a ‘Red Carpet’ against coal as Pacific Climate Warriors united with German 350.org activists in an action targeting Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and other leaders.
Painted in bold red, the 80 meter banner reading, KEEP IT IN THE GROUND was a call for Germany to phase out coal. It was first held aloft by a line of youth activists and then laid out in the walkway path towards the plenary hall at the venue for the High Level meetings of the conference which kicked off today.
350.org Program Director Olivia Langhoff said, “We can no longer afford for the coal phase-out in Germany to be a political bargaining chip. It’s irresponsible to keep Germany and the citizens of the world hostage to the profits of the fossil fuel industry.”
Pacific Climate Warrior from Fiji, George Nacewa made a powerful case for the connection to us in the Pacific. “Germany’s coal poses a direct threat to Pacific Islands and our people. Germany needs to phase out coal immediately to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees and give us in the Pacific a fighting chance for survival.”
“We’re not prepared to let the fate of the Pacific be determined by politicians that put profits and polluters before people.”
“We know that people in Germany and around the world are in this fight with us. Where politicians like Chancellor Merkel fail, it’s up to us to keep it in the ground.”
The dramatic statement drew the attention of the passing crowd as media and delegates stopped to either take photographs or to talk to the demonstrators about their message. Many took a moment to add their support and encouragement.
Litia Maiava, climate warrior from Tokelau said of her commitment to the work, “I am responsible for the life and safety of my family. I’m worried because if I fail to stop fossil fuels, I won’t be able to save my family. If they don’t leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong, then my country will be the first to go under water.”
Today’s action follows the massive Ende Gelaende protest at Germany’s largest open-pit coal mine on the opening weekend of the Climate Conference.
350 Pacific is a youth led grassroots network working with communities to fight climate change from the Pacific Islands. They work with organisers across 15 Pacific Island nations to highlight the vulnerabilities of island countries to climate change while showcasing their strength and resilience as a people.
Their work includes facilitating workshops to educate and empower youth in the region, organising action days to raise awareness and participating in the United Nations climate negotiations.
Challenging the fossil fuel industry is a key objective for 350 Pacific.