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Climate Camp, Heathrow
Some impressions of a short visit to UK Camp for climate action near Heathrow airport
There' something about airports and August which draws media like flies to...In Ireland we're ignoring the Guantanamo slots while we fight for our right to fly to London. In the UK august 2006 saw the establishment of a climate camp at Drax power station in North Yorkshire. This year it is at Heathrow and the standard injunctions, terrorist legislation and media hysteria are being brought to bear. Indymedia.ie has received this report from a short visit to the camp:
This years climate camp is now well underway. About 1000 people have set up camp on a squatted field just north of Heathrow airport. The aim of the camp is to raise awareness of and take action on the causes of climate change. (See main body for rest of report.)
UK Indymedia is providing excellent coverage including reports from the public internet access tent which is open for a total of four hours a day, over two main time slots and is running on a mixture of wind and solar power.
It's a pity that there's not more Irish folk here cos some of this information is really important and directly relevant to our own gas and oil issues. There is a strong, convincing argument that those reserves off our shores should stay there, under the sea which is a point of view that hasn't really been aired within or outside the Shell to Sea campaign for fear of sounding anti-progress (heaven forbid!). In a nutshell from an unscientific mind it goes like this:
A global temperature rise of between 1.5-2C is enough to tip the climate into a feedback loop that can't be stopped aggravated by things like a darker planet surface absorbing more heat, causing much worse than the flooding we have already seen. We have very little time to sort this out and we cannot afford to take half measures, to do it we will have to learn to communicate and cooperate on a global scale in ways that I can't even imagine right now. Enough of that for now.
The camp is run along similar lines to the Horizone antiG8 camp in Stirling with a horizontal decision making structure, regional neighbourhoods, renewable power supply, compost toilets, good food, entertainment and workshops on everything from activist trauma support, the money behind climate change, seed saving and food security, direct action and our very own Shell to Sea. Also present on the camp are local people from the village of Sipson who are campaigning against the construction of a third runway at Heathrow.
The run up to the camp has been characterised by the usual and expected scare stories in the media with tales of bomb scares, runway invasions and the usual, as well as an attempted, and failed injunction by BAA (British Airports Authority) against most of the population of southern england. There have certainly been a number of actions and some arrests so far but these have focussed private flights and have not been limited to Heathrow - check uk indymedia for details. The cops have done the usual intimidation and control tactics, searching and filming people travelling to the camp though are being fairly laid back at the moment evidently feeling they have the situation under control. We currently have the surreal situation where 4 cops are allowed on site at any one time though only when accompanied by campers so you see 'em walking around in pairs shadowed by activists in a bizarre role reversal.
There was a moment in a meeting last night when the frightening reality of climate change and strategies for dealing with it were being outlined to the assembled throng, as a police helicopter hovered overhead, that the full on craziness of the situation hit home to me. This feels like a gathering where people are genuinely doing something, beyond changing light bulbs and insulating houses and buying "green " products, actually working for deep systemic change and in many cases prepared to risk our freedom to do so and here we have the government whilst saying they're in favour of stopping climate change, throwing the full force of the state against these people in case we damage the economy. "Fk that sht!" say I. The more I see of this type of thing the more convinced I become that what passes for the law is an irrelevance at best, an obstruction at worst to the real work of radically changing society so that we can continue to live on this planet.