By Kara Moses

Something exciting is happening in the environmental movement. Fracking, Balcombe and the spectacular Reclaim the Power camp have sparked something. Excitement. Inspiration. Debate. Action. Perhaps it’s too early to tell, but I’m quietly anticipating something of a resurgence of the environmental movement.

Fracking has burst onto the scene, taking fossil fuel extraction and all its dirty secrets to people’s doorsteps. For the first time since the failure of global ‘leaders’ to commit to any kind of meaningful action on climate change in Copenhagen 2009, the UK is having a discussion about fossil fuels; climate change is creeping back onto the agenda.

Local anti-fracking groups are multiplying across the country as are discussions about ‘where next?’ after Reclaim the Power – including here in Birmingham. The effective actions taken at the camp, which grabbed global headlines, empowered participants and stopped Cuadrilla drilling for six days by the mere threat of further actions, has inspired many to take more direct action.

Lobbying to influence government decisions is a necessary part of a broad and effective movement, but must be accompanied by more radical approaches – a plurality of tactics is needed. Radical action can push the boundaries further, creating a space for mainstream organisations to move into, shifting the debate further and more quickly in the direction it needs to go.

Direct action works. It’s how most major progressive changes in society came about, from the abolition of slavery and women’s liberation to halting further coal investment and Starbucks actually paying some tax.

A number of us who attended Reclaim the Power have decided to form a new direct action group, Birmingham Climate Justice. Our approach does not depend upon the power of government elites but reclaims power to affect change ourselves through direct action. We want to work with existing groups such as BFOE to build a broad movement in Birmingham.

The action we take will aim to highlight the inextricable links between environmental, social and economic injustice. Our first area of focus is the increasingly extreme fossil fuel extraction processes – such as fracking, coal bed methane and underground coal gasification – in Birmingham’s greenbelt and beyond. Lots of exciting plans are already in place, and we’d love you to join us. Get involved!

Find ‘Birmingham Climate Justice’ on Facebook

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