Phil’s reflection on CCA at Ffos-y-Fran

Action on Tuesday 3rd May helping to shut down Ffos y Fran, the UK’s largest open-cast coal mine for the day.

IMG_1564.JPGOrganised by Reclaim the Power and 350.org, this marked the beginning of 2 weeks of action world-wide to keep coal in the ground. I was with four members of Christian Climate Action who were asked to be one of two teams to block internal roads at the mine so that transport would be unable to take workers to the area of current excavation. Our brief was for five of us, Ruth Jarman, Martin Newell, Jo Frew, Julie Timbrell and myself, to go to the narrower of the two roads before 6 30am when the shift was to start and for Ruth, Martin and me to lie down in the road and lock-on to one-another. We were committed to be respectful of those who we met and to do no damage to machinery. After getting into the mine by crossing over two barbed-wire fences with the help of a small carpet – and under the eyes of helicopter crew – we found the road, locked-on, and spent the best part of 3 hours taking in the sight of a beautiful blue sky and delicate clouds, marred  by the vapour trails and the disturbance which they trigger in us – spreading death in their faraway silence.

A member of staff came over to let us know that we were trespassing and that the police had been informed. He explained that the safety of the protestors was their priority and that none of the workforce would be coming where we were. We had some good moments of connection with him when he told us that his father and grandfather had been miners and that he was proud of that tradition. I said that my grandfather had been a miner in the Rhondda about 12 miles from this one and that I had come to know what he hadn’t, namely that burning coal is destroying the planet and harming life. He said that he has three children and is having to consider these issues himself. By about 9am, some 400 of our colleagues had got into the mine and had closed it for the day. No-one was arrested. I was grateful that anxieties I’d had about violence had not been fulfilled.

Being locked-on was a new experience for me. It triggers vulnerability. It is also very satisfying in meeting needs for meaning and contribution. It is so special to experience the support of friends, especially Jo and Julie whose job was to make sure we were ok. This is what life is about, not more stuff but relationships, the beauty of the Earth, and its life-forms. We ended our stay in this desolate place, literally a scar on the Earth, with a prayer of gratitude that the morning’s outcome had been good;  and asking for a huge change of heart towards care for the Earth, the poorest peoples as the ones most affected by climate change, and the generations who will follow us – and that we be given the grace to find an economy which is a subsidiary of the Earth instead of the current one which regards the Earth as its subsidiary.

Phil Kingston

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CCA join Reclaim the Power at ‘End Coal Now’ day of action.

 

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As part of Reclaim the Powers action camp at Ffos-Y-Fran, members of Christian Climate Action have blockaded a road in the coal mine.  The day of action itself included hundreds of people occupying the site on May 3rd 2016.

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Below is the Press Release:

PRESS RELEASE

3rd May 2016

 

 

Christians on the Front Line Against UK Coal

Five members of Christian Climate Action blockaded the Ffos-y-fran open cast coal mine at 6:25am this morning, helping to close off the access road to the mine. They were among 400 people from Reclaim the Power camp who shut down the largest open cast coal mine in the UK for the day and called for the end of coal mining in the UK to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The activists were dressed in red to lay down the red line that fossil fuels, especially coal, must stay in the ground. The UK government announced last year that it plans to end coal burning for electricity by 2025. Christian Climate Action says this is not only too late, but also little more than a hypocritical gesture if the UK continues to mine coal for shipping overseas.

Phil Kingston, 80, one of the five and originally from Penarth said, ‘My grandfather worked in the Welsh mines. We know now that coal is hugely damaging to God’s creation and to the future of my grandchildren and their generation. The poorest people in the world are being hit hardest by the extreme weather events that are being caused by climate change. For all these reasons I feel called to take action to keep fossil fuels in the ground.’

Ruth Jarman, 52, who lay on the ground with her arm in one of the tubes, said, ‘Our government agreed last year in Paris to try to limit climate change to less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. To have any chance of meeting this target 85% of known fossil fuel reserves, and 90% of coal, the dirtiest of all, need to stay in the ground. By stopping mining at Ffos-y-Fran, the largest opencast coal mine in the country, we are simply helping our government to live up to its own promises.’

The ‘End Coal Now’ action is part of the Groundswell year of action and international mobilisations taking on the fossil fuel industry.

The five are: Ruth Jarman from Hampshire (52), Phil Kingston from Bristol (79), Father Martin Newell from Birmingham (48), Jo Frew and Julie Timbrell.

‘As Christians we feel we have no option but to take sides on matters that threaten the future of so much of God’s creation, including the people he loves,’ said Ruth. ‘By participating in this action to stop the mining of coal, we intend to place ourselves on the side of justice and peace.’

ENDS

Editors Notes:

  1. More information about Christian Climate Action, including statements of support and photographs, can be found on our website:www.christianclimateaction.wordpress.com
  2. The Reclaim the Power mass action camp, End Coal Now, is part of the Groundswell year of action and international mobilisations taking on the fossil fuel industry this May.  The camp shut down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine – Ffos-y-fran in Wales. www.reclaimthepower.org.uk/endcoalnow

PRESS RELEASE: Christians take part in direct action to shut down coal mine in Wales

25th April 2016

groundswell_header-1024x381On Tuesday 3rd May, a group of Christians will take part in the mass action to close down the Ffos-y-Fran coal mine in Wales and call for the end of coal mining in the UK. The UK government announced last year that it plans to end coal burning for electricity by 2025. Christian Climate Actionsays this is not only too late, but also little more than a hypocritical gesture if the UK continues to mine coal for shipping overseas.

 

Ruth Jarman of Christian Climate Action, said, ‘Our government agreed last year in Paris to try to limit climate change to less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. To have any chance of meeting this target 85% of known fossil fuel reserves, and 90% of coal, the dirtiest of all, need to stay in the ground. By stopping mining at Ffos-y-Fran, the largest opencast coal mine in the country, we are simply helping our government to live up to its own promises.’

 

The ‘End Coal Now’ action will happen as part of the Reclaim the Power mass action camp, which will run from Saturday 30 April to Wednesday 4 May near Merthyr Tydfil, and is part of the Groundswell year of action and international mobilisations taking on the fossil fuel industry.

 

‘As Christians we feel we have no option but to take sides on matters that threaten the future of so much of God’s creation, including the people he loves,’ said Ruth. ‘By participating in this action to stop the mining of coal, we intend to place ourselves on the side of justice and peace.’

 

ENDS

 

Contact: Ruth Jarman 07970 907784 / 01252 849904

 

Editors Notes:

  1. More information about Christian Climate Action, including statements of support and photographs, can be found on our website: www.christianclimateaction.wordpress.com
  2. The Reclaim the Power mass action camp, End Coal Now, is part of the Groundswell year of action and international mobilisations taking on the fossil fuel industry this May.  The camp hopes to shut down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine – Ffos-y-fran in Wales. www.reclaimthepower.org.uk/endcoalnow