Linha Vermelha - Red Line Favorite 


Dec 5 2017



Linha Vermelha was created in 2016 by the non-profit organization Academia Cidadã (Citizenship Academy). At that time there were fifteen active contracts for oil and gas drilling and we were inspired by the “Red Line Action” in Paris, during COP21 and decided to create this campaign.
We decided that we would knit red lines to symbolise the 1.5°C warming "limit". These red lines would be knitted in public by different people from various parts of the country and also symbolise the "STOP" we wanted to give to the fossil fuel companies' contracts and plans to extract fossil fuels. Our goal was reaching people who normally don't talk/think/worry about these issues.
We are a craftivist group and we use knitting in public as a methodology to bring awareness and mobilize people. We are very well connected with activist groups and thus facilitate this interaction between "activist issues" and the general population. We are bridging the gap between ordinary citizens and organisations working on different issues.
Since 2016 we organized more than 120 public events in bars, schools, public parks, elderly centers, libraries, etc. In our events we invited several informal knitting groups to inform them about climate crises and also to knit. In total, more than 2000 people knitted 1200 meters of Red Line. And we, with all the climate justice movement in Portugal, were able to stop all the 15 contracts for fossil fuel extraction, in Portugal.

How the pandemic changed our plans:
After our victory, we started planning the next steps and for that we started listening to our partners and local groups. We held formal and informal meetings and we were building our way forward when the pandemic of COVID19 and lockdown started. At this point our tool (craftivism) ran out of power and we had to go back on our planning.

During the pandemic we started a round of online public events on various topics, with partner organisations where people could participate and knit. We also decided to start creating an education tool for young people - an online game where through leisure, young people could discover various facts about the climate crisis. This game was tested in a pilot project, in the “Padre Cruz neighbourhood”, in partnership with the National Association of Street Football. The pilot project had five sessions and the young people created a video reporting what they discovered about one of the themes they chose. This pilot project was great mainly because it happened in “Padre Cruz neighbourhood” which is a place where a lot of roma and other racialized people live and help us to understand the importance of reaching other people beyond “normal” activists – white students or mobilized people.

Our analysis:
After an analysis of the climate movement, we have identified that groups radicalise their tactics as the climate crisis and greenhouse gas emissions, increase. This can lead to people with empathy for the cause being able to walk away because they don't identify with these actions. And in this case, it is the cause that loses.
We know that by knitting in public we create empathy, as we use an inclusive tool (craftivism) that mobilises other citizens who do not recognise themselves in actions they consider more "aggressive" or disruptive.
Why knitting in public is a powerful tool:
We will create informal and creative environments, mobilising joint reflection between people who do not know each other. Alongside the empowerment of participatory citizenship, craftivism tends to increase empathy, knowledge and understanding of the phenomena on which it focuses. By fostering a sense of belonging and empathy, we will be filling the gap that exists between activists and 'non-activists'.

Having done this analysis, we have identified that we have several roles in the movement:
- fill this gap between activists and sympathizers/followers and create identity and sense of belonging
- enhancing dialogue
- talk about the urgency of action to tackle the climate crisis
- make visible the intersection between social causes that people do not identify as being related to the climate crisis, but which are, such as the problem of housing, racism, transport, health, inequalities, among others.
When we are knitting in public, it’s easy to attract people and talk to them. Then we teach knitting and talk about climate justice, its agenda and the several organizations that are part of the climate justice movement – with whom we work very closely. We will talk about the international movement, and not only about Portuguese organizations. We have a dedicated page in our website for this.
Besides this, we need active solidarity with the activists that face legal processes. And again, our tool is amazing to do this. In our events we will collect contacts to add to our list of knitters and mobilize these people to make active solidarity when there are legal processes against activists. This will serve to hold vigils in front of the courts and also events in public spaces to expand this solidarity. Knitting in public is a symbolic but powerful way to show solidarity, in addition to the visual and disruptive impact it has.
How we want to scale and increase our influence in the climate justice movement:
Next year we want to expand the tool of knitting in public to other specific causes, within climate justice – migrants, anti-racism, housing, feminism, lgbtqi+, just transition, forests and oceans.
As the cost of living crisis escalates and crises follow one another, we need a lot of active solidarity and our tool can play an aggregating role to tackle the root of the problem – capitalism.
We are coordinating an informal space – agenda for climate justice, in Portugal, that came out of the Glasgow agreement. This is happening because on of our coordinators in involved in Climáximo and started to do this coordination work.

Project activities:
Actions/events to knit in public to:
- talk about climate crisis
- attract the attention of bystanders simply by knitting in public
- teaching new people of different ages and genders to knit
- recruit people to organise more events with us
- show solidarity with climate justice activists, from all over the world
We will organize vigils outside the court whenever an activist is being accused and we will mobilize our network of craftivists and other people that we will reach in our public actions.
Expand the tool of knitting in public to other specific causes, within climate justice – migrants, anti-racism, housing, feminism, lgbtqi+, just transition, forests and oceans. We will do this, by partnering with organisations that are working on this issues and we will start knitting in several colours, each representing one issue/cause.
Coordinate the informal space “agenda for climate justice”, in Portugal, and ensure that this space is a safe space and also helps to establish more trust between the groups. We aim to bring more organizations to this space, which already have groups from climate, housing, anti-racists, some environmental NGO’s and unions.

What we want to achieve:
By organizing solidarity actions, we hope to create synergies and deepen relationships between groups and people - activists and “regular people”.
At the same time we aim to reduce the gap that can arise between the climate justice movement and ordinary citizens, who usually do not speak about these issues.
By offering our tool to other groups, we (as part of the climate justice movement) will start working together and more regularly with other groups that are working on anti-racism, housing, feminism, lgbtqi+ rights, just transition, forests and oceans. This will feed the solidarity actions and the other way around.
So, we aim to create a more solid and active movement in Portugal, by deepening bounds between groups and people.

Posted by Linha Vermelha on

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How does this project help?

Timeframe For change

The "Red Line" project has several long-term goals that it seeks to achieve. The first goal is to foster a culture of active citizenship and engagement in communities, particularly in those areas that are marginalized and typically excluded from social and political participation. Through creative and artistic activities such as knitting and embroidery, in public spaces, the project aims to create a space where people can come together, connect with one another, and build relationships that are based on empathy, solidarity, and shared values. The second long-term goal of the project is to use creativity and art as a means of raising awareness about the urgent need for climate justice and the impact of climate change on communities. By engaging in public displays of art and craft, the project seeks to attract attention and generate conversations about these important issues. In doing so, it hopes to inspire action, both at the individual and collective level, and to encourage people to take an active role in addressing the climate crisis. Finally, the third long-term goal of the project is to create a network of like-minded individuals and organizations that are committed to social and environmental justice. By collaborating with a diverse range of partners, the project hopes to build a movement that is inclusive, resilient, and capable of effecting meaningful change. It aims to create a space where people can share ideas, resources, and skills, and work together to achieve a more just future for all.


In 2021, the Red Line achieved a significant victory in the fight against climate change. Through a combination of creative activism and community organizing, the project played a key role in putting pressure on the Portuguese government to cancel 15 contracts for fossil fuel exploration and extraction in Portugal. This decision marked an important step forward in the country's transition to renewable energy and was a clear sign that grassroots movements can have a real impact on environmental/climate/social policy. The success of this campaign has energized the Red Line team and reinforced their commitment to using art and creativity to promote climate justice and positive social change. Through our creative approach of using knitting and embroidery to raise awareness, we have been able to engage people who might not otherwise be interested in climate activism. By using art as a tool for social change, we have created a sense of solidarity and compassion among our participants and supporters. We have seen the impact of our work in the communities we engage with, with people becoming more aware of the effects of climate change on their daily lives and more willing to take action to address the issue. The project has also helped to build a sense of community among participants, with people coming together to knit and embroider in public spaces and share their skills with others.