Flash Mob Demanding End to Polluter Subsidies Captures the Spotlight at Rio+20

Human Impacts Institute's Founder Launches the Rio+20 Flash Mob to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies: Photo courtesy of Ioana Stoica, WE Canada

RIO DE JANEIRO – Over 100 demonstrators calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies joined a “flash mob” at the Riocentro in the heart of the Rio+20 Earth Summit this afternoon.

“We need to send a strong message to world leaders gathered in Rio: Fossil fuel subsidies drive climate change, drain public resources, and make it virtually impossible for clean energy sources to compete in the market,” said Franklin Russell, director of Earth Day at Earth Day Network and one of the lead organizers of the demonstration. “If we’re going to jumpstart the green economy and chart a course to a sustainable future – the professed goals of the Rio+20 conference – these polluter subsidies must end.”

Civil society is calling on Rio+20 leaders to deliver a new plan to save the planet by shifting nearly $1 trillion spent each year on fossil fuel subsidies to renewable energy and sustainable development. Nearly one million people have signed a petition to world leaders calling for action and tens of thousands joined a “Twitterstorm” on Monday to flood the internet with a call to #endfossilfuelsubsidies.

“It is time to stop the endless flow of money to the industries at the core of global pollution and climate change and responsible for so much human suffering,” said Tara DePorte, executive director and founder of the Human Impacts Institute. “Ending fossil fuel subsidies is a first step toward true commitment to a sustainable future and is a necessary outcome of Rio+20.”

Hundreds of civil society members join the call for leaders to end support for big oil at Rio+20!

The flash-mob-style demonstration in Riocentro, the convention center where the conference is being held, began around 1:30 p.m. BRT, the middle of the lunch hour for negotiators. The Human Impacts Institute’s Executive Director, Tara DePorte, launched the action by standing up, donning an “End Fossil Fuel Subsidies” shirt and sign, and began to chant, “The future I want? No fossil fuel subsidies!” One by one, over 100 people stood up in the crowd, revealed their own shirts and signs, and joined in the chant. The demonstrators then observed 20 seconds of silence before dispersing.

The demonstration was organized by the Human Impacts Institute, Earth Day Network350.org, and several youth groups attending the Rio+20 talks.

“Ending fossil fuel subsidies has emerged as the loudest and clearest demand from civil society during this summit,” said Jamie Henn, communications director for 350.org, an international climate campaign leading the #EndFossilFuelSubsidies Twitterstorm. “If world leaders want Rio+20 to be a success, they must answer the call from millions of people around the world.”

More information on the Twitterstorm and petition to end fossil fuel subsidies at:
endfossilfuelsubsidies.org

Earth Day Network mobilizes over one billion people in 192 countries through year-round advocacy, education, public policy and consumer campaigns to protect the environment. www.earthday.org

The Human Impacts Institute’s mission is to foster sustainable human impacts on ecosystems through inspired engagement, leadership, collaboration, knowledge-building and creative expression.
www.humanimpactsinstitute.org

350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. 350.org’s online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries. 350.org is named after the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million (the world is now at 392 ppm).

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