I’ve been predicting for some time that the big flashpoint issue of this year was set to be aviation.Confirmation came from the Marketing week survey in May showing 4 out of the 5 top rated ‘environmnent unfriendly’ brands happen to be airlines. And now the activists are on the case.
I’m looking forward to an August in London, only being ‘away’ as far as most clients are concerned and my son who just finished nursery school today summarises the plan as ‘every day is going to be like a weekend’ which weather notwithstanding (and wasnt it great today) sounds like a good plan..
But spare a thought for the millions planning to warm climes by flying through heathrow this summer. It’s all kicked off around the Greenpeace summer camp. Ken Livingstone weighed in today after BAA filed for an injunction against the Greenpeace protestors camp planned for Aug 14th:
“A small hardcore of virtually professional protesters were planning to do the sort of thing they do at G8 and other places. Police are quite good at policing against this. What BAA have done is guarantee massive coverage of what was going to be a minor encampment. Now it will undoubtedly be more larger than it would have been. Someone there must be out of their skull. The vast majority of people would not have been aware that this would be taking place. As an example of breathtaking stupidity, it could be rated under Metronet for breathtaking incompetence.” Ken added: “Certainly Heathrow does shame London. It is typical of the English short-termism, lack of planning, lack of investment.”
How greenpeace described the event originally is quite mild:
“Eight days of low-impact living, debates, learning skills, and high-impact direct action tackling the root causes of climate change. Why? The science is clear: global emissions of carbon dioxide must go into rapid decline within the next decade. If they don’t, humanity faces a bleak future. To achieve this in a way that respects global justice means 90% cuts in developed countries like the UK. How will we cut emissions and end inequality? How will we achieve this in the face of an economic system intent on expanding at any cost, with corporations stealing the language of change to disguise business as usual? Ordinary people will have to join together to create real solutions and take direct action against the root causes of the problem. This year the Camp for Climate Action will be at Heathrow, the world’s busiest airport and a bigger source of CO2 emissions than most countries. It’s sheer lunacy in this time of ecological crisis, but the aviation industry are pushing to almost double the airport’s capacity by increasing flights and building a third runway. The battle to stop them will be one of the most important environmental battles in Western Europe. What we do now decides what the future holds. Those who came before us didn’t know the problem, those who come after us will have severely limited options. We have both the power and the responsibility to make a radically better world.”
Although there is a noticeable toughening in their response to the injunction:
“The attempt by BAA to gain an injunction against those supporting and participating in the camp (and anyone they know) is a perfect example of why non-violent direct action is essential if we are to stop climate catastrophe. Rather than the campers being a risk to the safety of passengers, it is BAA and the irresponsible corporations like them that are threatening the safety and future of all humankind. Yet whilst BAA can ask for an injunction to protect their profits, there is no law in this land which allows us to demand the same protection for our planet. Whilst there may be some disruption between 14-21 August as a result of legitimate protest, safety of all peoples is our highest priority. In fact it’s our core motivation. Air passengers are not our enemy. But neither are the 160,000 people already dying every year as a direct result of climate change. It is not our intention to ruin holidays, only to stop the planet going to ruin.Remember, we cannot stop climate change without stopping airport expansion. The UK government is not taking action to reduce aviation in this country, so we are going to have to, injunction or no injunction.”
…you sense as Ken says this might be building up to another Brent Spar meets Castle Morton moment if they seriously plan to police the M4, railways, tubes etc as proposed to prevent access to the site.
Anyway we’re not going on a summer holiday, so we can sit back and watch what is probably the busiest week in air travel anywhere in the world collide with an encampment of low-impact living people with all the time in the world to sit around on runways, approach roads and so forth.
I can actually see this becoming an annual summer fixture; “wimbledon, end of term, summer airport blockade…” Especially as ken says if the BAA try to take a rather ‘French’ approach to the demonstrations.