Marianne Orantes - student from Madrid & London | 29.03.2010 13:04
By Jason Lewis
Last updated at 10:53 PM on 27th March 2010
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Climate change activists opposed to air travel are travelling to a conference in South America...by plane.
Campaigners from Climate Camp -- who helped blockade Heathrow at the height of the summer holidays in 2007 -- face claims of hypocrisy having decided to send two members to an international meeting in Bolivia to discuss ‘transnational protests’ against climate change.
The 12,000-mile round trip to the Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights conference next month involves changing planes at least twice.
Campaigners for climate camp are travelling to a conference in South America - by plane
The flights will generate about eight tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gases.
The money for their tickets -- at least £1,200 for an economy fare -- is being paid for by donations to Climate Camp from people opposed to flying and airport expansion.
One of the campaigners making the trip is Agnes Szafranowska.
Ms Szafranowska, a Canadian who now lives in London, organises Climate Camp workshops and was involved in the Great Climate Swoop on Ratcliffe power station in Nottingham last October.
Police arrested ten people before the protest began on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage.
Some 1,000 people took part, and security fencing around the plant was pulled down. Police made 56 arrests and a number of people were injured, including one policeman who had to be airlifted to hospital.
Ms Szafranowska failed to answer questions sent to her by email, other than to say that Climate Camp were preparing a statement.
The group’s Press officer did not return calls.
Mail on Sunday 28 March 2010
Marianne Orantes - student from Madrid & London
I once went sabbing on a mountain bike with just one other person in Cumbria and we were constantly mobbed but fortunately the hunt felt so sorry for us they did not attack us, we were effective but it is handy to have a landie. To go sabbing or to try and get a mobile demo going without mobiles would be very hard especially as there are now no phone boxes that work. Recently 4 of us had to get to Newcastle for a demo which was important,one of us was arrested. If we had travelled by train it would have cost in excess of £250 and we would have had to leave early and abandon the arestee who would have been stranded until the next day. It cost £40 in petrol and we all got home safely. Total respect to activists who bike everywhere and we should aim for that but many activists at present are not up to it.
This reminds me of the debates in the animal rights movement wherein some argue that no REAL activist would ever use anything animal tested. The huge barrier to this is that EVERYTHING including water and essential oils is animal tested, furthermore our entire health care system is based on using things which are animal tested, someone who took this to the letter would have to have their own well, never eat anything that was not organic (pesticides are all animal tested), never use a printer, or read a magazine (inks were animal tested) etc etc. Pro vivisectionists have tried to guilt trip animal rights people into denying ANY medical treatment, it is akin to telling climate campaigners that they should never do anything which generates carbon, not even in an emergency. Things are not black and white here unless we live hermit like existances focusing on pure living we will be "hypocritical" or as I like to call it ,pragmatic. We are far more use in the real world as activists speaking to and networking with real people rather than being far removed, too good to be true and separate from society. How encouraging is it to the public to say "join us here's a list of all the things you are forbidden to do, yes I know your arm is hanging off but you cannot get into that evil ambulance"?
We should always aim to do the least damage by our actions whilst using common sense and it is all a bit of a balancing act.I am sure that the 2 people who went thought long and hard about going. Yes they generated carbon but so did I when I drove people back to Climate Camp at Kings North from the police station, they could have walked/ cycled the 5 miles or so at 02.00. We are soft we have been brought up to charmed lives, maybe we do need to harden ourselves up a bit but again how attractive is it to say "join us and if you get arrested, even if you are a frightened teenager, it's only 5 miles you can walk it"?
Two people going to another continent to network with other activists makes sense to me. Conference calls, etc work to an extent but are not the same as meeting face to face, indeed things may need to be said in private away from the watch of the FBI and other security forces. One person cannot bounce ideas off themselves, 3 is excessive, 2 just right. BAA and all the others network all the time, sometimes as someone really aptly put it earlier on this thread those who clear up the shit do get a bit dirty.