By Line Skov, Ende Gelände

What is BLOCKADIA? And why is it growing?

Coined by author and social activist Naomi Klein, Blockadia is the word being used for people putting their bodies on the line to stop fossil fuel projects.

This direct-action phenomenon has been growing around the globe.

Examples include the Keystone XL Pipeline protests in the United States, the Shell to Sea protests in Ireland and more recently the ‘Ende Glelände’ protests at Europe’s largest CO2 emitter near Bonn in Germany.

Research from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Lund University (Sweden) and Universidad del Magdalena (Colombia) has found that this kind of direct action is growing.

In the last decade has seen a sixfold increase in the number of these protests globally.

A new interactive map shows the rise of Blockadia. In ten years, Blockadia actions started in at least 48 places, compared to only 8 that started in the previous decade.

The most recent entry is the ‘Ende Gelände’ protest which coincided with the COP talks in Bonn. This is just one of 70 cases pictured in the Blockadia Map. In 16 cases, the targeted fossil fuel project was also stopped.

Nick Meynen, Environmental Justice Project Officer at the European Environmental Bureau said:

“Blockadia activist have to risk jail or even death for what they do, but in the face of the massive political failure on climate change they think more in terms of what is legitimate than what is legal. They put their safety at risk to protect all of us. Having a scientific community supporting them, for example with the Blockadia Map, means a lot these people.”

Professor Joan Martínez-Alier from ICTA-Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona said:

Since the 1990s, communities and organizations from Ecuador to Nigeria and the Philippines and many other countries, oppose coal, oil or gas extraction and burning not only because of local health and livelihood reasons but also because of the need to keep the “unburnable fuels” in the ground to prevent climate change. Some of the militants have paid with their lives.

The interactive map is available online.