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 on 3 May 2016, 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.’
Read Philip’s reflection on this day (written 12 May)
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.’
More information about Christian Climate Action can be found at www.christianclimateaction.wordpress.com