BLOCKADIA: New map shows massive direct action resistance against fossil fuel projects around the globe

A new interactive map by researchers of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) reveals the worldwide impact of direct action resistance by people putting their own bodies in the way of fossil fuel projects, a phenomenon also called Blockadia.

The Blockadia map brings together a selection of 50 cases of resistance movements against fossil fuel extraction compiled by the Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas) ( This effort was developed in the framework of the research project Environmental Justice (ENVJUSTICE). Both ENVJUST and ACKnowl-EJ projects are working to expand the EJATLAS.

See the map here!

The Blockadia map shows the global nature of direct actions for climate justice. The map’s researchers from the ICTA-UAB, Lund University, Sweden and Universidad del Magdalena, Colombia found that in most cases a Blockadia action starts with protecting land and livelihood, but grows into something bigger when outside support and a climate justice narrative are added into the mix. Researchers point out that indigenous peoples have been the first and fiercest opponents in almost all contested fossil fuel projects.

Blockadia is a term popularised by Naomi Klein after it was used by activists against the Keystone XL Pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands. It describes the “roving transnational conflict zone” where people are stepping in where leaders are failing.

Both the World Meteorological Organisation and the UN’s environmental body raised the alarm this week about the acceleration of annual greenhouse gas emissions and the associated consequences. Political leaders need to understand that if they do not make bolder moves to mitigate climate change, people take things into their own hands to prevent a climate breakdown. The conversation on climate change is shifting from “what is a legal action to what is legitimate”.

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