We're grassroots Heathrow residents proving that communities less dependent on oil can be more resilient, stronger and happier. We take direct action on climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy by transitioning to a post-oil, community-led future for the Heathrow villages.
Transition Heathrow is delighted at being named the first Tar Free community in the UK. At our recent Resistance Jam weekend, Sue and Emily from the UK Tar Sands Network visited Grow Heathrow to unveil a new banner they had prepared for us and to explain their new initiative.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the capitalist system around us has gone crazy. Our total dependence on oil is socially self-destructing, and the only way our economy can sustain itself is by wrecking everything in its path in a quest for the last remaining dregs of unexploited oil reserves. The environmentally catastrophic Tar Sands extraction in Alberta is the foremost example of this.
Across the world communities are starting to stand up to illegitimate governments and corporations that continue to put profits before people. We need to join the dots between communities under threat. The forces trying to destroy communities around Heathrow airport are the same as those bringing destruction to Alberta. We at Transition Heathrow stand in solidarity with the indigenous communities who face losing their livelihoods, traditions and history through the complete destruction of their local environment.
We felt incredibly honoured when First Nations activists from Alberta chose to visit Transition Heathrow earlier this year, as part of the No Tar Sands UK tour. An evening of discussion and shared stories brought hope and inspiration to our separate struggles. Working together and supporting each other can only help communities under threat defend themselves.
Becoming a Tar Free Town means making a commitment to only using ethical sources of energy. By themselves, our actions may not have much impact, but by acting together we can drive the Tar Sands out of our towns and out of the UK, and create a future where our energy needs are met without the rights of indigenous communities being trampled on.
On Friday 15th April, from 7pm – 10pm indigenous activists resisting the Alberta Tar Sands will join with Transition Heathrow for a workshop on building community resilience and the UK Premiere of the Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands! The visit is part of the 2011 Tar Sands Tour.
7:00 pm What are the Tar Sands?
Learn more about the Tar Sands giga-project and the growing resistance.
What have they got to do with us in the UK?
Learn about how the UK is involved in the tar sands and the vibrant movement in the UK working in solidarity with First Nations community members to shut down the tar sands.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta, and also works as Greenpeace Tar Sands Climate and Energy Campaigner.
Jasmine Thomas is a member of the frog clan from Saik’uz British Columbia, Canada. She is strongly opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project that plans to cross through her own and 52 other First Nations unceded traditional territories in British Columbia and Alberta.
Clayton Thomas-Muller, of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation is an activist for Indigenous rights and environmental justice and Tar Sands Campaigner with IEN
UK Tar Sands Network works in solidarity with IEN to pressure UK companies and banks to disinvest from the Alberta Tar Sands
On Saturday the 16th October, hundreds of climate activists blockaded the access road to Coryton oil refinery in Essex. This was more than just a symbolic direct action – it directly impacted on the oil system. More than 50 tankers were prevented from leaving the site, that’s about 375,000 gallons of fuel.
The day started with 3 blocs meeting in locations around central London, all waiting in anticipation and ready to occupy, build, blockade and reclaim space. As the masses travelled further out of central London, with less than happy police in tow, the energy was mounting. A large road blockade to the Shell Havens Oil Site further down the road consisted of beautiful bamboo tripods, some suitably creative banners and costumes and a personal highlight – the Stilt Bloc.
Police were forced to close the road as further on 12 female activists handcuffed themselves to vehicles deliberately blocking the way for fuel tankers. The day was part of a global week of action against the fossil fuel industry. As the UK’s biggest refinery, Coryton is responsible for 22% of the national forecourt demand. Our lives have become so saturated with oil that unless drastic changes are made, we won’t stand a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.
The Crude Awakening highlighted the failure of governments to have the guts to make the necessary changes; as usual, profits are put before people. Finding new oil reserves is the last thing we need and yet oil companies, hand in hand with governments, continue scouring the planet for the last few drops of dirty oil.
So it’s about time we stopped oil companies trampling the rights of local communities, devastating local environments and pushing us all closer towards tipping points. Instead we need to start finding alternative solutions and learning skills for a post-oil future.
On Saturday 16th October, somewhere in Central London, activists from all over the country are going to give oil a Crude Awakening.
There is a lot of mystery and anticipation around what form of protest will actually take place. There is 10 unspecified targets and from the video above it looks like holding a space could be involved. Whatever happens, it is going to be exciting.
Here is the callout:
Floods in Pakistan, drought in Russia, huge glaciers breaking up in Greenland…
Our climate system is rapidly sliding into crisis, as oil companies destroy people’s lives and the environment to keep sucking up their profits.
Oil saturates every aspect of our lives. Oil profits lubricate the financial markets and its sponsorship clings like a bad smell to our cultural institutions. It flows through pipelines to the pumps, airports and factories of our cities.
The failure of the UN COP15 process showed us – if there was ever any doubt – that government and industry can’t tackle climate change. It’s up to us and it’s time to up the ante.
As a movement, our actions against coal and aviation have made a real difference. Now oil’s time is up.
Together, on October 16, let’s give the oil industry a Crude Awakening.
Meet in central London. Be ready to move. Be ready to stay and stand your ground.
Be creative. Be prepared. Be there.
Find out more, get involved and sign up for text alerts at www.crudeawakening.org.uk
“I was incredibly impressed by the work and dedication of the squatters here. They've transformed a derelict wasteland into a productive and thriving community space ... I don't feel that sorry for the bloke who owns the property.” by RICHARD MADELEY (TV PERSONALITY)