Posted: May 25th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Action, Energy, Events | Tags: activism, climate camp, climate change, direct action, energy, no dash for gas, resistance, sustainability | No Comments »
Is Climate Camp back?
Big decisions are being made now about how we’re going to power the UK. The government’s policy of increasing our reliance on gas is pushing millions into fuel poverty. This – coupled with ruthless cuts to essential services – leaves many with an impossible choice between heating and eating. And the same policy guarantees that we’ll miss even our modest carbon reduction targets. Both the financial and the climate crises are related to the pursuit of profit above all else, in the interests of the few and at the expense of the many.
We need a win. And one win we need is a secure future for generations to come, where profits don’t trump the public interest and where we have safe, clean energy to meet our needs.
Be part of creating something BIG this summer, get involved now and Reclaim The Power.
We can fight back, as the student, trade union, women’s, disabled rights and anti-cuts movements have shown us. There has never been a more critical time to take action. The solutions are there to be grasped.
21 people went up two chimneys but 64,000 came down
Last October, 21 environmental activists shut down EDF’s West Burton power station for a week in protest at the government’s Dash for Gas. West Burton is the first of up to 40 new gas fired power stations being planned. With your help, including a solidarity petition signed by 64,000 people – they fought off EDF’s attempt to sue them for £5 million.
This summer, inspired by their action, we are building a wide coalition of groups and individuals who will be coming together to Reclaim the Power. We’ll plan together. We’ll put forward solutions. We’ll cross the border from anger to action. It was people power that stopped new coal and stalled plans for a third runway at Heathrow, that made bankers’ greed and tax avoidance toxic and that is now fighting austerity attacks on workers, women, pensioners and the disabled. Together, we will stop the dash for gas.
Want to be part of creating Reclaim The Power? Wondering where we’ll be, how you can get there or what you need to bring? More info to come soon, keep up to date at:
Posted: January 24th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Action | Tags: access to land, activism, anti-airport, climate camp, climate change, direct action, eviction resistance, Squatting, sustainability, zad | 2 Comments »
Saturday, November 17th – Day of Reoccupation.
A yellow forklift truck leads the way; walking close behind is a block of Zadists carrying a fortified banner declaring: No to the airport and its world.
Behind them 20 tractors pull huge agricultural trailers filled with building materials: piles of pallets, straw bales, tyres, doors, windows, prefabricated wooden walls, hundreds of planks, corrugated iron roofing, tools – pretty much anything you can think of, including kitchen sinks.
We sit on top of one of the trailers. The affinity group from our local village has decided to build one of the constructions for today’s reoccupation action – we have named it the Black Bloc Sanitaire – it’s a shower block and bank of compost loos. The pile of building materials that we sit on is much more messy than the trailer behind us which carries the wood for a group of young architects. The architects have a super neat stack of carefully numbered pallets and the rumour is that they have already practiced setting up their dormitory building in the main hall of the Nantes school of architecture. Our construction doesn’t even have plans that are to scale, but we are hoping that the collective energy of the day and a dose of spontaneity will see something rise from the pile of rubbish we are sitting on. This is the opportunity of a life time for anyone who has ever dreamt of building their own cabin, rebel palace or fortress: A free plot of land, no planning permissions or building regulations and hundreds of people keen to help build.
None of us know where we are heading, the location has been kept a secret. From high up we see the river of human being flowing behind us, snaking through the country lanes as far as the eye can see. As always, we have Radio Klaxon on in the background, they have just announced that the mainstream media think that there are 40,000 people are on the action and over 400 tractors! We are all here on an illegal demonstration whose aim is to build a rebel settlement together on the land earmarked for the airport (see part 1). Last night the president interrupted a state visit of Poland to make a statement about the protest, reminding the French public of the “power of the law.”
A year ago, when I first saw the flyer for this action, with its floating date to reoccupy 4 weeks after the first eviction, I thought it was a great idea but that it would be a handful of tired traumatised post eviction activists symbolically rebuilding a couple of huts. Little did I imagine I would be taking part in one of the largest act of mass disobedience I’ve ever experienced and that we would have enough material to build a hamlet. The fact that there is not a single police officer in sight, however, not even a helicopter watching above, is strangely disconcerting.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 26th, 2011 | Author: Joe | Filed under: Media | Tags: activism, climate camp, direct action, Plane Stupid, transition | No Comments »
Transition Heathrow jumped on board the transition town movement at a very different stage to most. Where did it all begin?
Four years ago in the small village of Sipson 700 homes faced being completely wiped off the map by a third runway at Heathrow making Heathrow Airport the biggest single source of emissions in the country . In August 2007, the now famous Climate Camp set up in Sipson – one of the three Heathrow villages (alongside Harlington and Harmondsworth) which faced destruction and the loss of livelihoods. Was there support for the camp? Yes there was, as Christine Taylor local resident explains here:
“It came at a time when the campaign against the third runway needed a boost. Local people had battled against expansion plans for years, mostly with passive petitions, polite letters and a little genteel placard waving. It wasn’t until 2002, when hundreds of homes were threatened, that the No Third Runway Action Group (NoTRAG) was formed. Yet we were still playing by the rules, while BAA and the government appeared to be planning to move the goalposts.”
Plane Stupid shuts down Stansted Airport
Another key group which needs to be mentioned when thinking about where Transition Heathrow originates from is Plane Stupid. Plane Stupid – a direct action network against airport expansion and short haul flights, played a big role in the successful campaign to get the third runway stopped – amongst other victories which included scrapped expansion plans at our other major airports; Gatwick and Stansted. As part of the anti third runway campaign one of Plane Stupid’s projects was Adopt-a-Resident; a scheme which partnered local residents with activists from across the country – the idea being that if the bulldozers showed up activists and residents would stand side by side to stop them. This is when we really started to get to know the area – the people, the community, the history.
Of course we need to stand up to corporate climate criminals such as BAA but for many we didn’t feel like this was enough. It is daring, brave and scary facing arrest by putting your body on the line to create change but a far more overwhelming task is creating more longer lasting change. The need for a long term vision based on community resilience in the Heathrow villages was clear and luckily enough someone had a plan. As part of a university project someone from Plane Stupid had drawn up a long term vision for the Heathrow villages – and the vision was called Transition Heathrow. All it needed was some people to move down there.
And so six of us did. In October 2009 six Plane Stupid members moved into Harlington and set about setting up a Transition Town – a very daunting task having only read Rob Hopkins’ “Transition Handbook” and not knowing much else. Firstly we just observed. We went to all the local meetings and found out what made the community tick, what people’s interests were and more importantly where we should be putting our time and energy. One thing that was immediately clear was that there were no community spaces – nowhere for people to come and discuss all the plans and ideas that people had while the runway was still on the cards.
We had been cycling past this abandoned plot of land every week with three broken greenhouses on it when one day we decided to stop and have a look – the site was in a state but looked perfect for everything we wanted to do; growing, setting up a community space etc. We asked the local community about the idea of squatting it and to our surprise we were overwhelmingly told to go and do it.
Grow Heathrow before and after
And this is where I sit now writing this blog. On land that was to be tarmaced we have created Grow Heathrow – a squatted community market garden which offers a positive alternative to the power structures that build runways on peoples homes for profit. We now have a base from which everything happens and where the ideas of making the transition to a low-carbon post-oil future spring off from. A year and a half on and the site has been transformed from a derelict mess into a thriving hub for local residents and activists to meet up, share knowledge and share practical skills for a future threatened by climate change and peak oil.
This blog was taken from the Transition Network website as part of their new social reporting pilot project.
Posted: May 15th, 2011 | Author: Joe | Filed under: Cool Projects | Tags: affinity groups, climate camp | No Comments »
Climate Camp has traditionally offered three things – it showcases sustainable living, it offers a programme of radical education and throughout there is a commitment to undertaking effective non-violent direct action.
Climate Camp Lewes certainly did this well. A local camp with a local focus, the response has been positive to the point of an embedded, local-driven occupation being a realistic legacy.
A criticism of previous camps has been that a hit-and-run approach empowers few people from the local community and presents the powers-that-be with a noticeable, but nonetheless limited, source of irritation.
Here in Lewes there is an opportunity for a Grow Heathrow-style community-activist squat-project which could truly get under the skin of both the County Council and the destructive companies who will line their pockets when flattening the lot and ordering the concrete to be poured.
But words are useless. We are in a seriously affluent town, and regardless of the generally agreeable sentiment, without feet on the ground and a willingness to go nose-to-nose with the bailiffs, cops and nay-sayers, we are looking at a pipe-dream…
But I’m sick of ritualistic activism… I’m sick of meeting once a week and going through the motions… to locking on to this or that… we need embedded sites with staying power… and we need them everywhere…
Whether the threatened site in Lewes has the ingredients to hold fast is irrelevant. It’s the principle that matters. We need a shift change in both how we think about our activism and how we think the largest impact can be made.
It can no longer be about using direct action to chase column-inches in the hope of influencing some suits… The change and inspiration has to come from us… direct action as a show of our collective-power, unity and anger.
If we are to be anything more than ‘weekend warriors’ flitting between smart-phones and black masks, we need to dig-in… to lead by example and put our full-weight behind projects which don’t only reach those who already know what ‘consensus decision making’ looks like, but those who have never had an opportunity to imagine – let alone experience – a genuine alternative.
Words of a climate camper taken from Brighton Climate Action.
Posted: August 22nd, 2010 | Author: Joe | Filed under: Events | Tags: activism, climate camp, coal, direct action | No Comments »
Raising a Ruckuss
Last Wednesday night at 9.15pm I swooped with 100 other activists onto this years climate camp site. The site is a stone throw away from the RBS Headquarters at there Gogarburn site just outside Edinburgh.
Initially I was doubtful of the over ambitious plans to camp so close to this years target but 24 hours later I was proven wrong. By camping on the grounds of the headquarters the camp has become a piece of direct action in itself. Everyday the big bosses who are responsible for the massive climate wrecking plans that RBS have funded can see out of their shiny windows camp life in process.
So far the policing has been very relaxed with them even allowing 150 activists to take a tour round the building on Friday lunchtime. Speeches, music and lots of dancing was the theme of the day however one activist did manage to get through and super glue herself to the front desk.
This is just the beginning as on Monday at least 500 climate campers have vowed to shut the place down. And they deserve it! We, the people, own 83% of RBS and they are using our money to fund dirty coal, oil and gas projects all over the world including some of the most dirtiest projects such as the tar sands in Canada.
For more information or for directions to the 5 day camp check out the climate camp website: