Youth Say ‘No!’ to Coal
The aim of Youth Say No to Coal was to mobilise 1,500 – 2,000 people to take part in a mass action symbolically encircling Kingsnorth coal fired power station in Kent. This was to demand that the UK Government take immediate action to say ‘NO’ to new coal power in the UK, and send a strong message to the global community that the UK is serious about tackling climate change.
Students from the People & Planet network joined campaigners from other organisations such as Oxfam, Greenpeace, NUS, Woodcraft Folk and the World Development Movement to form a human chain around Kingsnorth on 4 July 2009 . Our banners, which were lovingly created by students at the People & Planet Summer Gathering, went down a storm with other campaigners tweeting about them as we all made our way towards the power station. However the award for best campaigning prop definitely went to the Women’s Institute for their campaigning cake, emblazoned with a fondant icing coal power station!
After we formed the giant human band around Kingsnorth power station, with everyone holding yellow ribbons between them, there was a summer fête, complete with stalls, music, speakers and fun for all the children that attended. Shorbanu Khatun, from Bangladesh spoke emotionally about the huge impact climate change had and was still making on her life, destroying her home and family’s livelihood. Indie singer-songwriter Sam Duckworth from Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and internationally renowned Ugandan musician Geoffrey Oryema took part in the rally, and afterwards both performed at the fête, too.
Susan Nash, vice president of Society and Citizenship at the National Union of Students said at the event: “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our generation. Plans for a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth represent a serious threat to the lives and futures of young people in the UK and beyond.” Kit Jones, young trustee of Woodcraft Folk, added: “We reject new coal at Kingsnorth. My generation doesn’t want to be defined by fossil fuel dependency as previous ones have. Instead we are excited by sustainable alternatives that will really help protect the lives of millions of the poorest people around the world. We know these work because we’ve played with them – but you can’t ‘play’ with six million tonnes of CO2 or a host of other harmful gases.”
On the 7 October 2009, we heard that E-ON had shelved their plans to build the new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth for 30 years which was a huge win for all those (including the People & Planet students) who have been tirelessly campaigning against it for three years.