On August 28th, hundreds of climate activists gathered in front of the biggest gas field in Europe, province of Groningen in North Netherlands. The NAM, Shell and Exxon, is causing several heavy problems in the region. Due to the gas extraction over the past decades, earthquakes became a weekly phenomenon in the region causing damaged buildings and uninhabitable homes.
What is happening in Groningen is daily practice for the fossil fuel industry everywhere. In locations where fossil fuels are extracted, people and nature are of no importance. Meanwhile the global temperatures have risen by already one degree due to human activities and the consequences are hitting harder all around the world.
Preparation for Action
Protesting against the focus on nothing but profit, hundreds of international climate activists met in a climate camp near the gas site since August 24th. Main goal of the camp was to plan and practice a mass action in front of the gas field on August 28th. Accombined by several plenaries, decoration works and music acts, action trainings were held on a daily basis.
Mass Action at the Gas Field
To mobilize as many people as possible and to be seen by locals in the region, the activists united to different fingers, taking different routes to the gas field. Six fingers, each given an own colour and transportation, departed at different times. The activists made their way on bicycles, busses, trains, boats or even by walking the 11km from the camp to the action site. Arriving in front of the gas field, a peaceful blockade of over 600 hundred people was being held, preventing the transporting tankers to pass through.
Protests in the region have already shown effects. In the beginning of the year a demonstration with around 15 000 people was held. This led to the government announcing to stop the gas extraction in 2030. Nevertheless, Code Rood states, that it is important to take immediate action and not only act in a decade. Being a windy region, there is even a local industry for wind shields which should be the future of energy production in Groningen. The movement of Code Rood is growing fast; Only founded two years ago, the action of last year already gathered 300 activists, increasing to 700 in this year. The goal of the activists is formulated clearly:
‘If the governments are not stopping the fossil fuel industry, it’s up to us to do so’
All in all the action against the gas field is as many climate protests of symbolic character. Energy companies are not depending on one power plant to supply the region and those are often shut down in advance of blockades. Nevertheless: Code Rood raises awareness for resistance amongst the once living and struggeling in the area around the field.