Swedish Just Stop Oil ally group ‘Restore Wetlands’ declare victory in huge win for civil resistance

A fellow member of A22, a global coalition of allied groups fighting climate collapse, Återställ Våtmarker or ‘Restore Wetlands’ has declared victory. Their two-year campaign of nonviolent civil resistance has led every party in the Swedish Parliament to stand behind their demand of restoring the country’s wetlands.  [1] [2].

In a press release they stated “We will no longer glue ourselves to the highway with our Restore Wetlands banners. Restore Wetlands declare victory. Peaceful civil resistance works.”

“Through our campaign, we have put the issue of dried out wetlands at the top of the political agenda. The government has made wetland restoration a priority area in its climate policy. The climate minister herself mentions wetlands, electrification and carbon dioxide capture as top priorities. Because of the work we’ve been doing for two years, politicians have now been forced to take a stance on wetlands.”

“We have shown that peaceful civil resistance is an effective way to change society and are now passing on the baton. We have sat on the highways and risked our lives. Now everyone knows that wetlands play a crucial role in drastically reducing CO2 emissions, that they replenish groundwater, prevent floods and are absolutely crucial in reducing the spread of forest fires. Now it is up to the politicians, the county administrations, and the landowners to put all the talented excavation contractors to work to implement the national crisis project Sweden needs to actually restore the wetlands.” [3]

Since the campaign began Återställ Våtmarker has caused a media storm and brought attention to the wetlands to an estimated value of 848 million SEK, with a marketing value at almost one billion SEK! (Calculated using Meltwater). This media attention has educated the Swedish people about the climate impact of drained wetlands and subsequently created a massive public opinion for wetland restoration. 75% of the Swedish people now think it is important to restore wetlands. 

At the same time, there has been a big debate in Sweden, both in the media and among people, about the climate benefit of wetlands – 4,500 articles have been written about Restoring Wetlands both nationally and internationally. This massive public opinion shift has made all parties in parliament stand behind restoring wetlands, and this year the government has made wetland restoration one of their three prioritised points in their climate policy.

Several newspapers claim that it’s because of the Restore Wetlands campaign that the politicians have now made wetland restoration a priority. Svenska Dagbladet wrote in their summary of the past week, March 15, “Their message has gone from incomprehensible to actual politics. Climate activism that has actually created change.”

From now, the campaign will pivot to a focus on the carbon-intensive peat industry of Sweden – a niche fossil fuel more damaging even than coal, oil, or gas.

This news comes as law firm Client Earth have won a case against the UK Government over their Net Zero strategy, with the judge ruling that “that the UK government’s climate strategy is not fit-for-purpose, and therefore breaches the UK Climate Change Act”. [4]

61,000 excess deaths were recorded across Europe as a result of the extreme heat during the summer of 2022, whilst the UK government continued to licence new oil and gas. It doesn’t have to be this way, sign up for action at juststopoil.org. [5]


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Notes to Editors

[1] Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects.

Just Stop Oil ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been, to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with siren sounding and ‘blue lights’ on.

[2] https://a22network.org/

[3] https://återställvåtmarker.se/2024/04/22/vi-vann-vi-lamnar-motorvagen-och-lagger-ner-limmet/

[4] https://www.clientearth.org/latest/news/we-re-taking-the-uk-government-over-its-net-zero-strategy/

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jul/10/heatwave-last-summer-killed-61000-people-in-europe-research-finds