A Victory in Borneo: Coal Plant Plans Scrapped A Victory in Borneo: Coal Plant Plans Scrapped

A Victory in Borneo: Coal Plant Plans Scrapped

by Ben Jervey

February 20, 2011

God it feels good to be able to follow up a plea for help with a message of victory. Our friends at 350.org share the news of the cancellation of a proposed coal plant in Sabah, a Malaysian state on Borneo.

Here's the background: The state and federal governments had released plans to build a coal plant in Sabah, near a strip of pristine beach between the island's incredibly biodiverse rain forests and the Coral Triangle, one of the world's most rich marine ecosystems.

Five prominent local NGOs formed the Green SURF coalition to fight against it. International allies like 350.org and petitions like this one on Change.org helped draw attention to the issue from around the world.

And this week, Green SURF announced the very exciting news:

A coalition of NGOs here has congratulated the State and Federal governments for finally putting a stop to a coal-fired power plant in Sabah.

Victory! Green SURF representative (and champion 350.org organizer) Cynthia Ong had more to say:

On behalf of the individuals, peoples’ movements, organizations and friends of Green SURF, we thank the Chief Minister and his State Cabinet for safeguarding our priceless natural heritage and strengthening Sabah’s role as an environmental trailblazer in the region....

We are here to stay and we are ready and willing to work with both the State and Federal governments in identifying and implementing solutions.

It may only be one coal plant in a world where new plants are being built every couple of weeks, but this isn't merely a symbolic victory. It's an example of the true power of grassroots organizing. It's a lesson on what local activists can accomplish by building alliances, reaching out for help wherever you can find it (even if it's on the internet or across the world), and telling the right story. We're celebrating today, thrilled for our allies who have ensured that their home will avoid the toxic fate that plagues coal-burdened communities around the world.

Photo: Green SURF

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
Some recent articles by Ben Jervey:
Join the discussion
Recently on GOOD
Sign up to receive the best of GOOD delivered to your inbox each and every weekday
A Victory in Borneo: Coal Plant Plans Scrapped