United Beyond Gas – voices of resistance from Latin America and Europe, Speakers Tour 24.5.-2.6.2018 in Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy.

 

We don’t need your imposed gas pipelines.
We are strong and sustainable.
We have the solutions.

 

From Barcelona to Girona to Perpignan, passing the mountains towards the heart of Geneva, down to the very South of Italy into the town of Melendugno, the #Unitedbeyondgas speakers tour has left its footprints.

Thursday, May 24th, Barcelona: meet Oliveria Montes, spokesperson of the Consejo Regional de Pueblos Originarios en Defensa del Territorio Puebla y Hidalgo, a council with members representing 40 communities from all over the region of Puebla and Hidalgo in Mexico. Their region is currently threatened by the construction of a pipeline proposed by the infamous Canadian company TransCanada and its partner in crime, the Italian Bonatti.

The Tula-Tuxpan pipeline would have a devastating impact on the communities’ water sources, their homes, and their culture. For the next 10 days, together with a team of other gas fighters, Oliveria will visit various cities in Europe, sharing the inspiring story of how the Consejo is fighting the Tula-Tuxpan pipeline monster.

Fighting against gas means fighting for land, for agriculture, for livelihoods, for the right to decide where public money goes. The United Beyond Gas tour brought together various groups fighting gas in their regions. Stories are shared, struggles are connected. And ways are found to support those far away struggles from closer to home.

The tour started off in Catalonia – first on the Spanish side, then on the french side – where we learnt about the resistance against gas in Mexico, Argentina, Italy, Catalonia, France and the Netherlands: fearless, organised, and in Latin America: indigenous-led!


“If they destroy our forest, what will we do? Without water, we have nothing. Water is life.”

– Carlos informed us about the violence in Mexico against journalists and people resisting projects, about the links between narcotrafficking and extractive industries

– Fernando warned us about the mega fracking projects in Vaca Muerta (Argentina) and how European banks and companies are involved.

– Carol and Claude brought us up to date about the local fight in Catalonia against the untransparent and unnecessary MidCat STEP gas pipeline, which is being built without the awareness of the local population.

Local resident: “The gas pipeline will pass through our city, but will we be able to use this gas ? No. There is absolutely no benefit for the communities here”

 

– Elisa shared stories about the ongoing resistance in the town of Melendugno and the region of Lecce to the construction of TAP, a mega pipeline which would end up bringing gas from Azerbaijan to Europe.

– A little bird told us that also in the Netherlands the resistance against gas is rising. The Groningers are tired of earthquakes and other impacts of Shell and Exxon’s gas extraction in the area. Curious what will happen in Groningen in August? Keen to join? More info here.

Thanks to the Naturalistes de Girona, we walked along the planned route of the MidCat pipeline to understand how it would impact the environment and the local population.

After Catalonia, the tour team travelled to Geneva, Switzerland. And what else to do there than to go to the United Nations? Oliveria met with UN special rapporteurs (which ones?) to denounce and discuss the violations linked to the construction of TransCanada and Bonatti ‘s gas pipeline and the abuses of the Mexican government on the indigenous communities of Totonacos, Nahuas, Otomíes.

At the same time, in cities like Geneva, it is easy to forget about the impacts of fossil fuels extraction and use. We reminded ourselves what role Swiss banks (Credit Suisse and UBS) and Swiss companies (Axpo and TAP) play in fossil fuel projects in Europe and the world. The last day of the tour team’s presence in Geneva, local groups took action against Swiss bank Credit Suisse to denounce its investments in fossil fuel companies, pointing their fingers at
the bank to highlight its role in the financing of gas pipelines.

 

The tour’s last stop happened in and around the town of Melendugno, in the South-Italian region of Lecce, where resistance against the arrival of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is strong and growing.

To find out what happened, check out www.unitedbeyondgas.org.

As part of the tour, we gave multiple workshops on gas and how groups can be involved. If you are interested to host us for a workshop or to learn more about how to give one yourself, get in touch! hello@gastivists.org

To find out more about the resistance against gas:

→ in Mexico : Consejo Regional de Pueblos Originarios en Defensa del Territorio Puebla y Hidalgo

→ in Argentina : OPSur

in the Netherlands : Code RoodMilieudefensie

→ in France : Amis de la TerreCollectif contre le gazoduc transfrontalier 

in Catalonia : NoMesGas, ODGPlataforma Resposta al MidcaT, Naturalistes de Girona

in Switzerland : Collectif Breakfree Suisse, Greenpeace Geneva

→ in Italy: Movimento No TAP, Re:Common

And 350.org, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Food and Water EuropeFriends of the Earth Europe, Transnational Institute, UKYCC, Dismantle Corporate Power, Corporate Europe Observatory, …