From the 29th May to the 2nd June 2014, Reclaim the Power set up camp in the shgadow of Didcot power station in Oxfordshire.
Over four days, around 300 people gathered to share and learn skills through a wide range of workshops, connect around delicious vegan and communal meals, and strengthen the movement for energy democracy. We demanded a greener future and an end to the government’s relentless push for fossil fuels.
The camp was part of an international weekend of mobilisation, calling out those responsible for climate change and calling for the radical transformation of our development models through multiple actions, initiatives and demonstrations across the world. With the COP21 negotiations happening in Paris at the end of the year, the global movement for climate justice has been building momentum and growing fast.
Back at camp, rounds of “activist speed dating” were going on. This process set up by Reclaim the Power (RtP) a few years back, links up people of similar characteristics to enable them to go out and take action in groups. The aim is to be as inclusive and as adapted to the most people as possible. The result was immense!
On the 1st of June, the camp culminated in a mass day of action, with 18 actions drawing the dots together between big energy firms, government ministers, public relations companies, oil arts sponsorship and the fracking industry.
Find out more about why the camp went to Didcot here: http://www.reclaimthepower.org.uk/guides-and-info/why-didcot/
Day of Action (1st June)
Npower’s debt collection and pre-payment meter office in Leeds blockaded
We’ve all had the threatening letters from energy companies demanding payment for bills we can’t afford – and today we hit back. Reclaim the Power groups visited RWE Npower’s offices in Leeds and blockaded the front doors.
Delegates at World Coal Association conference locked out of Institute of Directors
The coal industry are trying to continue burning fossil fuels by dangling the promise of Carbon-Capture-and-Storage technology. Conference delegates at a World Coal Assocation event found all five entrances to the exclusive Institute of Directors blocked this morning. There no arrests but lots of marigolds.
“Wind not gas” protest at Department for Energy and Climate Change
Cheeky protesters highlight the continued fossil fuel bias within the DECC by blockading its steps. “Against the advice of their own Committee on Climate Change, the government has approved the construction of up to 30 new gas-fired power stations, and intends to go ‘all out’ for shale gas – with up to two thirds of the UK licensed for fracking. This new dash for gas is recklessly at odds with our national and international obligations on climate change and must be resisted, for both the sake of ourselves and future generations.
Invesco’s Revolving Door between government and Drax
Continuing this theme, Reclaim the Power activists visited the offices of Invesco – the investment management company which owns 26% of Drax coal-fired power station in Yorkshire. New DECC minister Andrea Leadsom worked at Invesco for 10 years before taking up her post in government. The revolving doors were literally blocked and banner dropped above the London Wall road.
Polishing a turd: office occupation of Media Zoo
Public relations firm ‘Media Zoo’ represent chemicals giant Ineos – who have recently pledged £640 million investment in fracking. Eight activists occupied their offices in Imperial Wharf, London carrying a banner banner reading, ‘Fracking is Shit. You can’t polish a turd.’ They used arm tubes lock ons to stay put. Seven people were arrested around lunch time
Anti-nukes visit Carmargue PR firm
As well as representing RWE Npower, public relations firm Camargue also spin the work of Horizon Nuclear Energy. 12 protesters targeted the firm’s offices in Soho. Clare Jones said, “The public has a right to be informed about the real dangers of nuclear – from cancer to contamination to climate change. For the cost of building one nuclear power station you could build over 1000 offshore wind turbines.”
Energy UK lobby group blockaded
Energy UK is the trade body for the Big Six energy companies. They have lobbied the government to introduce the ‘Capacity Market’ into the recent Energy Act (2014) – which uses public money to subsidise new gas power stations. Three people blockaded the entrance, including two in an arm tube lock on. There were two arrests.
Big Six Love-in at Oxfordshire Conservative Party headquarters
Activists staged a ‘love-in’ (a blockade in a bed) outside David Cameron’s constituency office in Witney, to illustrate the Big 6 energy buy diclofenac online companies’ close relationship with the current British government. Ms Stacey from Reclaim the Power said: ‘The new Tory government are in bed with the fossil fuel industry. This continued cosying up with the ‘Big 6’ energy companies has got to stop. Corporations are raking in the profits from dirty energy, whilst Britain’s most vulnerable citizens are dying from fuel poverty”
RWE Npower headquarters in Swindon blockaded
Activists occupied the roof of RWE Npower HQ in Swindon, as well as maintaining a carnivalesque presence outside the building, to highlight Npower’s role in the fuel poverty crisis and their impact on fossil fuels for generations to come.
Joline, one of the group, said: “I am doing this in solidarity with our friends in Germany, occupying and defending the last precious corner of the 5,500 hectares of the Hanbacher forest from the open cast mine owned by Npower.”
All morning – Subvertising in Oxford
The Bill of Wrongs at British Gas HQ near Oxford
Activists dressed as shivering grannies hand delivered to British Gas Headquarters a “Bill” demanding payment for the funeral costs of the 15,000 people who died last year from cold-related illnesses from fuel poverty.
Ruth London, a pensioner who joined the protest from Fuel Poverty Action said: “It is a scandal that thousands die of cold in one of the richest countries in the world. British Gas, which profits from the policies causing many of these deaths, bears a heavy responsibility.”
Lancashire Nanas link fracking and gas-fire power stations at Didcot B
Anti-fracking ‘Nanas’ from Lancashire – who hosted last year’s Reclaim the Power camp in Blackpool – visited the gates of Didcot B gas-fired power station – joining the dots between the government’s push for fracking and the proposed construction of up to 30 new gas-fired power stations. The Nanas were accompanied by a 14-foot high ‘Cuadzilla’ fossil fuel dinosaur puppet.
Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ rebranded by Shell
Major polluters also maintain their ‘social licence to operate’ through sponsorship of cultural institutions and academic institutions.To highlight this, 30 people staged a surprise protest performance in the room containing Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ in the National Gallery, criticising the Gallery’s proposed privatisation plans and its controversial funding relationship with the oil company Shell.
Avonmouth Biofuel plant invaded
In Avonmouth near Bristol, activists occupied a site belonging to Boomeco, one of several companies in the area chipping used wood for fuel. This controversial practice has been the subject of a legal case by residents who believe that the wood dust it generates has increased respiratory and other health problems in the area. Local charity and green business the Bristol Wood Recycling Project explains that 25 percent of ‘waste’ streams supplying such businesses are viable for reuse and should not be regarded as fuel.
“No stone left unfracked” Tripod fracking rig erected at London City Hall
At around 12:30pm a group of activists erected a 30 foot tripod outside the front of City Hall and superglued themselves to the front of the building, in response to Boris Johnson’s recent dismissal of the Divest London and London Assembly call to divest their £4.8bn pension fund from oil, coal and gas and his supportive stance on fracking and shale gas extraction. Johnson recently argued that “we should leave no stone unturned, or unfracked, in the cause of keeping the lights on.”
Edelman PR firm deliver first fracked baby
Edelman PR company, a long-term target of climate protests, was also visited by anti-fracking activists who produced a disturbing video drawing attention to the company’s representation of the ‘independent’ Taskforce on Shale as well as highlighting previous astro-turfing activities to engineer grassroots consent.
Blockade of Cuadrilla offices in Lichfield (again!)
In what is becoming a tradition for Reclaim the Power, the Lichfield offices of major fracking firm Cuadrilla were also blockaded in the afternoon – complementing similar office occupations in 2013 and 2014.
Occupation of Imperial College’s Department of Mining
Imperial College London accepts millions of pounds from the fossil fuel industry, more than any other university in the UK, in order to fund research projects.
Around 10 people entered the college in the afternoon. Some proceeded to act out the invisible relationship held between big businesses like Shell and BP and the University department whilst others opened up banners and took to the front stairs to inform passers by.
Check out this video of the Didcot action camp here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EGvZPh1LN8