Undeterred by the very weak and limited injunction BAA has obtained, climate activists are busy making preparations for the Camp For Climate Action. Activists recently met with locals from around Heathrow to find a warm welcome in a community fed up with BAA's lies over an ever expanding airport. BAA have been putting forward their case for an injunction at the High Court in London. The injunction was served to individuals from certain anti-airport groups a couple of weeks ago and aimed at restricting protests happening in and around the airport. Read the reports from court: (1) (2) (3) (4)
And as things currently look, it won't have any effect on the actual camp at all. A spokesperson for the Camp For Climate Action said: 'This injunction is totally irrelevant to us. We won't be intimidated or bullied. The camp is going ahead!'. Meanwhile, in this article, UK Indymedia looks back on an inspiring year packed with climate action goodness...
Links: Camp For Climate Action | Location Of The Camp | British Airport Authority | Plane Stupid | Airportwatch | Climate Camp 2007 topic page | Heathrow Injuction | Heathrow Injuction Map | Heathrow's Injunction - What it means | NETCU Injunctions Page
Photo by Meso2
And What A Year It's Been...
Last year's climate camp, which was held at Drax power station in Selby, North Yorkshire, seems to have inspired many and been the birthplace of a new movement. Here are some examples of what has been happening around the UK in the last 12 months...
At the end of last year's camp, a big clean up resulted in the field being restored to how it was found. Quite an achievement, taking into account the amount of people and stuff that was its resident for nearly 2 weeks. Back home, all inspired by the weeks events, the various local groups started plotting about what to do next. Local groups organised 'follow up meetings' around the country, including York, London, Leeds and in the East Midlands area. Benefit gigs were organised in various places (1) (2) and a 'follow-up' gathering also took place in Manchester. During the gathering people decided that during the course of the year, besides getting the camp up and running again in summer, groups should take action locally.
One of the first actions after the camp happened early in the morning on the 24th of September. A group of protesters 'breached security' at the East Midlands Airport and occupied one of the operational taxi-runways. The 21 activists from the group Plane Stupid said they "wanted to see airport expansion plans scrapped, a tax on aviation fuel and plane tickets, and an end to short haul flights." The method of the occupation was chaining themselves to each other, having set up tents saying 'Climate Camp 2'. Baptist minister Malcolm Carroll, who led a memorial service for the victims of the effects of climate change, also took part in the action. Spokesman of the group, Joss Garman, said: "an estimated 150,000 people die of the effects of climate change each year. That's the equivalent of a 9-11 every week." At midday, armed police, dog units, fire brigade and helicopter arrived and cleared the runway. 24 people were arrested for 'suspected offences under the Aviation Security Act'. Contrary to what the BBC reported, some flights leaving the airport were delayed. Then armed police raided and turned over most of the protesters' houses while they were held in custody. Officers confiscated clothes, computers, diaries and other personal items, in some cases without giving out receipts for them. See the feature article for more info. The activists appeared at Loughborough Magistrates Court in October, but the case was adjourned until December.
In October, people in Manchester shut down a Hummer dealership and a few days later, climate activists in Swansea targeted a housing development in their city: 'using graffiti they highlighted the fact that part of Swansea’s prestigious SA1 development on Trawler Road is being built on land that will flood unless Climate Change can be averted.' In another protest, on 31st October, banners were hung from bridges across the M1 motorway. From Luton to Sheffield an alliance of groups opposing widening of the M1 motorway highlighted the disastrous consequences of the plans. The No Widening M1 Alliance, which includes representatives from communities along the whole route of the M1 due to be widened, are concerned about the environmental damage of widening the motorway, particularly climate change. The protest happened on the day the Government delivered its report on Climate Change. Climate activist argue that the 'Stern Report' stresses seriousness of climate change but offers false solutions. Read feature article for more.
In November, Plane Stupid, the action group which specifically targets the aviation industry, and had previously blockaded the runway at EMA, organised a day of action against short haul flights. Travel agents were closed that day in London (1) (2), Bristol, Manchester, Cambridge and Reading. The head office of airline Easyjet was occupied in London, as well as the offices of the Civil Aviation Authority by people from London Rising Tide. In Yorkshire activists paid a visit to Leeds/Bradford Airport, while in Manchester protesters dropped banners in the Altrincham area.
In December, 3 months after the runway occupation at East Midlands Airport, Loughborough Magistrates Court rejected calls from the Crown Prosecution Service to slap ASBOs on the 24 Plane Stupid activists who they described as “highly organised extremists” that were arrested in connection with the shut down of Nottingham East Midlands airport in September 2006. In an apparent move aimed to avoid having the case heard by a jury, the charge of public nuisance was dropped, as was the charge relating to an alleged breach of the aviation and security act. Plane Stupid lawyer, Mike Schwarz, described the action to the court at the time as a “classic piece of civil disobedience” and reminded the court that “Tony Blair himself has described climate change as the greatest threat facing mankind.” Campaigner for Plane Stupid, Ellen Rickford, said outside the courtroom; “The same day that we learn the government is pushing ahead with its airport expansion proposals, they try to use ASBOs to stamp out peaceful protest. Well, it seems their plans for that were as doomed as the aviation industry.” Read feature article for more info.
Two controversial climate conferences are held in Sheffield, late January. They sparked debate as it turned out that admittance was by strict invite only. Neither campaign groups, environmentalists nor even climate change scientists were invited. This was a conference for business leaders. Read feature article for more.
Over the weekend of 3rd - 4th February, actions up and down the country and beyond targeted dangerous 'greenwash' being desperately pushed by corporations and politicians. The actions came in the wake of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released that week, which warned of world temperature rises of over 6C by the end of the century. The report indicated that a 4 degree rise would mean a 10% loss in global food production due to draught, flooding, water shortages. While the world was slowly waking up to the magnitude of climate chaos, Shell and Exxon Mobil announced record breaking profits. With the figures laid out so clearly, the nauseating hypocrisy spouted by corporations and politicians has spurred action across the country.
In London, environmental activists defaced a Shell Oil sponsored photo exhibition at the Natural History Museum and called on the museum to drop its greenwashing deal with the oil giant (1) (2). The action follows the publication of Shell's 2006 record-breaking financial figures and the release of the IPCC report. At the same time, a group of Manchester climate activists decorated the pavements outside flight centres, petrol stations, supermarkets and a humvee garage with carbon footprints. This action was also to coincide with the the publication of the report. That very same week, in Edinburgh, a group of people under the guise of fictional company 'Greenwash & Co', did a satirical performance at a talk being given by the then UK minister for the environment, David Miliband, at Edinburgh University. The minister was later pied in the face by a lone pie-bearer in an unrelated incident.
On 9th February, 30 climate activists shut down an ESSO petrol station on Upper Brook Street in Manchester for two hours, using bits of fencing and traffic cones. The action aimed to highlight the link between the oil industry and global warming. As a symbol against car culture, three people locked themselves with D-locks to bicycles. Two others were locked to concrete based signs. Two large banners were displayed reading “no.1 supplier, no.1 denier, no.1 profiteer” and “closed for denying climate change”. Read feature article for more. On the evening of Wednesday 21st, a group of concerned Leeds and Bradford residents decided to draw attention to the activities of a number of climate criminals in Bradford city centre. Advertisements for damaging air flights were modified to tell the truth: that flying is the fastest growing cause of climate change, the “single greatest threat to humankind.”
Then, mid-March, local residents concerned at plans to increase congestion and pollution on the M1 paid a visit to 'one of the Climate Criminal Organisations involved'. They managed to stop the work at the site near Mansfield for the morning. A few days later, in Bradford, a polar bear visited a number of travel agents, and the Thomas Cook call centre in Bradford, to ask if they would kindly stop destroying his habitat. Also see feature article.
April was probably one of the busiest months in terms of climate action. It started off with the Campaign Against Climate Change's 'Expose Exxon Day' at the UK headquarters of the world's largest oil company. Around 100 people turned up on a gloriously sunny Good Friday at ExxonMobil (Esso)'s UK headquarters in Leatherhead, Surrey for an Easter action organised by Campaign Against Climate Change. The vigil and protest ran for 24 hours, starting from Thursday early evening. There was a chilled-out festival vibe on Friday, with colourful costumes and banners, live acoustic music, speakers, poetry, food stalls and face-painting. See article for photos and more.
The folks in Nottingham took things a bit further. A busy week of workshops, gigs and actions around the issue of climate change took place in the city. Under the banner of 'Spring into Action' it showcased practical solutions to climate change. From workshops on bike maintenance, local food production, community compost projects and strawbale building to concerts and performances, it was an action- packed week. It also acted as a showcase for existing projects in Nottingham including Country Parks, allotment projects and the Attenborough Nature Reserve. A lot of the events took place at the (for the occasion) occupied former lace factory, also known as the J.B. Spray factory. See feature article for more info and numerous photolinks. It didn't just stop at workshops though...
On the last day of the week, climate activists from around the East Midlands managed to stop some operations at Radcliffe on Soar Power Station after climbing onto conveyor belts and dumper trucks inside the plant. The power station is located just outside Nottingham and is the 3rd biggest emitter of CO2 emissions in the UK. The owner of the plant, E-On, said operations ran as normal and that their environmental record is good with aiming to be a clean coalfired power station. However, a spokeswoman for the protesters said: "Putting pressure on individuals to reduce emissions when companies like E-On are profiting from this polluting industry is obscene and irresponsible. We should not be burning coal in the 21st century." The blockade lasted for 3 hours and 11 people were arrested all of whom were later released. The action got quite a bit of media attention and re-highlighted the coal issue, which was the main issue during the climate camp back in August. Read the feature article about the action (with photos) and listen to the audio piece. The whole Spring Into Action week was organised by Eastside Climate Action, Nottinghams climate action network.
In May it was announced that the 2007 edition of the Climate Camp would take place at Heathrow Airport. 'There will be a day of mass direct action aiming to disrupt the activities of the airport and the aviation industry, but in the interests of public safety there will be no attempt to blockade runways. Although the location is different, the philosophy of the camp remains the same: to be a place for the burgeoning network of people taking radical action on climate change around the country to come together for a week of low-impact living, education, debate, networking, strategising, celebration, and direct action. The camp will feature over 100 workshops covering topics such as climate change impacts, carbon offsetting, biofuels, peak oil, permaculture, practical renewables, campaign strategy, skills for direct action, and much more. Run without leaders by everyone who comes along, it will be a working ecological village using renewable energy, composting waste and sourcing food locally.'
On the 14th May, activists marked the 10th anniversary of Tony Blair coming to power by visiting his best friends in industry to highlight the revolving door between Labour and the aviation industry and his failure to tackle climate change. A team of protestors from climate action group Plane Stupid blockaded the ‘revolving door’ to BAA’s Heathrow HQ to oppose government and industry plans for airport expansion. The activists chained up the front doors to the offices and dumped copies of the science of climate change, reports from the UN and from the Tyndall Centre, into the reception area. The activists pledged not to allow the staff out until they’ve read the science.
On the 18th May, a local resident became so fed up with Leeds/Bradford Airport's irresponsible climate terrorism that she glued herself to the front door - and took the opportunity the spread the word about just how damaging and selfish flying is. Read full article.
On the 10th June, as part of the International Day of Action Against Climate Change and the G8, action took place around the world. See article for more info and links.
On the afternoon of Saturday 16th June, climate campaigners glued themselves to the doors of the short-haul East Midlands airport to draw attention to the environmental impacts of flying as part of a European day of action on short-haul flights called by pressure group Airport Watch. Two men from climate action group, Plane Stupid, caused disruption by superglueing themselves to the passenger entrances to the airport. Supporters handed out leaflets to airport customers encouraging them not to fly next time, and a banner carried by helium-filled balloons was also released in the departure lounge bearing the slogan ‘Let’s fry’. See feature article for photos and more.
Around the same time, the government's chief scientist warned that for the UK, flash floods were likely to be the biggest immediate problem caused by global warming. David King told a committee of MPs that the country would have to prepare for extreme weather such as heatwaves and "torrential downpours". Two weeks later, widespread flooding occurred throughout the United Kingdom. Large areas are counting the cost of the worst flooding this country has seen for over 50 years. The floods of June and July have resulted in the deaths of a number of people. The flooding affected thousands of businesses, tens of thousands of homes and further affected up to a million people. The rescue operation was set to be the largest domestic operation of the armed forces since the second world war. Experts agree that the severe storms and flooding will become more frequent as temperatures rise. See feature article for photos and more.
Despite Oxford being badly hit by recent floods, activists from the town unfurled a massive banner from one of the oldest and most iconic buildings in Oxford. The action took place on 28th July and 'promoted the Camp for Climate Action' as well as 'satirising the Oxford City Council logo (an ox crossing a ford)'. The banner stayed put for over two hours.
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Help out: This overview is far from complete. If you spot anything that you think should be included, please send the article link to notts at indymedia dot org. Cheers.