Sleazyjet quickly got back into action, seducing people to take more holidays abroad and stop worrying about the future! Screw Global Warming! Let’s Fly! (and Fry…..)
What can I say about Climate Camp? It was like nothing I’ve experienced before- truly a self-organized community of diverse people with a common goal- to put a halt to this mad orgy of fossil fuel burning that is leading us to climate chaos. Five Hundred meters north of the busiest airport in the world, which excretes a massive 31 million tons of carbon a year, it meant drawing a line in the sand and acting directly to prevent the madness of a third runway and a near doubling of flights.
The camp was unique in that protest-hardened anarchists rubbed shoulders with scientists, middle class families, and students worried about the future and spurred to action.
Dozens of packed, intensive workshops led by scientists, environmentalists, and social activists added to the cultural brew. One of my favourite sessions was a session led by George Marshall of the Climate Outreach and Information Network about the psychology of climate change denial. Are you in denial? Watch this video summary of his talk and then visit his Climate Denial website.
The low-cost airlines began their cycle ride from Bristol International and rode 134 miles to Heathrow Airport, mostly along the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, which, if improved might one day provide a high quality level cycleway between London and Bristol. Along the way, Sleazyjet, FryinAir, and company clamored for more cheap flights, more runways, and more CO2!!!- here they seduce passers-by at a travel agent in Devizes with 1p flights to Tuvalu in the South Pacific (which is being swallowed by rising seas) “See it before it’s gone!….” Apocalypse tourism gone astray…
James from Ireland is changing a flat tire outside Pewsey, where some……well…..interesting people live. We’re about to head to Reading and its hospitable International Solidarity Centre.
After a rather wet day riding through Windsor, the Bristol Climate Camp Cycle Convoy arrived at the Camp for Climate Action, which was stealthily built only about 500 m north of the main runways, on the site proposed for the 3rd runway. Immediately the mood was celebratory and defiant.
This video below was shot about a half hour after we arrived . About 30 police officers try to come on site against a previous agreement with the camp…. see what happens:
This video starts out with no sound but has nice photos of the camp and some great speeches toward the end:
Trevor and Friends joined an affinity group opposed to air freighted fruits and vegetables- “Don’t Buy Flown! Grow your Own!”
More than 1800 police officers surrounded the camp, and used terrorist law to stop and search nearly everyone. There were dozens of riot vans, intelligence gathering film and video units, a crane erected with 24 hour video surveillance, telescope microphones, and a helicopter hovering overhead- and you can see why– we were clearly a major terrorist threat! Our “secret weapon” was the “mini-dink” the baby version of the Rinky Dink human powered sound system (you can see the people furiously pedaling behind George) powering Monbiot’s speech in the photo below:
George Monbiot , the Guardian columnist and author who camped with us in the Westside neighbourhood, speaks to a crowd in Harmondsworth, one of the villages BAA wants to raze to make way for another runway. In the process, they want to demolish a 1000 year old church and disinter the people buried there, including the daughter of villager Alf Pereira, who died from Bronchial disease brought on by Heathrow’s air pollution, which already exceeds EU law for NO2. Utter Madness….
Chatting with the Met on a rare sunny day. This nice policewoman refuses to fly, teaches sustainable principles to her kids, and buys local, organic food. Of course, not all of them were so keen– as the clouds darkened and protests intensified later in the week, there were cases of unnecessary police brutality associated with the arrests of more than 80 people…..
Trees were planted in Harmondsworth as a statement of defiance against British Airport Authority’s suicidal plans for airport expansion. BAA was the next target as a 24 hour occupation of its world hq commenced. Twenty-four hours later, the head of its press department had resigned.
Later in the day, I chatted with two young guys who worked at the airport for Aer Lingus, and expecting them to be pro-airport, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they opposed to the expansion, supportive of climate camp’s presence and excited about the climate justice movement in general. They bought me a pint, and said “good on ya!” I saw them cycling over to BAA HQ that evening to support the protests. Yet another reminder that some very bad corporations are often made up of good individuals (like in the film, the Corporation, when anti-Shell activists camped outside the house of one of its board members, and are brought tea and biscuits by the guy, who turned out to be really quite a nice chap…).
The truth is this: Climate Camp wasn’t just an isolated event– it is emerging everywhere. We are more numerous than the corporations, we are more powerful than the politicians, and we are going to win…. because losing– allowing ourselves to cross that 2 degrees centigrade boundary is– unthinkable.