Amelia’s Magazine | Climate9: Stopping Carbon Emissions at Source. So Who are the Real Criminals?

Donald Trump is behind the expansion of Aberdeen airport. Illustration by Kevin Bradshaw.

When the words of the law and the actions of the Government contradict each other, viagra look it can be quite confusing for all involved. The much lauded Scottish Climate Change Act, for instance, lays down that Scottish Ministers must create a strategy which encourages the population to help them achieve their carbon emissions targets. So, why, when a group of concerned citizens prevented 107 million tonnes of carbon being emitted over a period of five hours, were they then arrested and charged with vandalism and breach of the peace? Perhaps erecting a mini golf course on the runaway at Aberdeen airport and grounding all the planes isn’t one of the actions identified by the Scottish Ministers as contributing to the achievement of those targets… because it actually affects carbon heavy businesses?

The Climate9, as they have been dubbed, staged this action is response to the proposed expansion of Aberdeen airport, an expansion to serve Donald Trump’s planned hotel complex and golf course, and all the lazy London businessmen who just need to getaway to bonny Scotland for their R&R. There are plans to expand all of Scotland’s airports, pushing passenger numbers up to 67.9 million a year, in a country where the population totals 5.1 million. Does every Scotsman need 13 flights a year? This would boost carbon emissions by 3.4 million tonnes. I fear the Ministers responsible have misinterpreted the phrase ‘achievement of targets’ in their own Act; it’s LESS not MORE. Got it? Currently, Scotland contributes 11% to UK carbon emissions from aviation and 60% of all Scottish flights are domestic. That is to say their destinations can easily be reached by train, coach or car, and slightly more adventurously by bicycle, or pony and trap.

“But trains are always late” and “Coaches are cramped and smelly!” I hear you cry. I agree. Wouldn’t it be great if the government could do something about that? Like putting £9 billion into land-based transport and sustainable development research? Faster, greener trains. Coaches with more leg-room and working toilets. The very stuff dreams are made of. You’re right though, where would they find money like that in a recession? Well, they could always NOT subsidise the aviation industry to the tune of £9 billion; using taxpayers money to dole out fuel tax exemptions to the high fliers. Funny how they don’t mention this little hand-out when touting the £11 billion ‘made’ from the aviation industry. Like any big business, aviation poops on the little guy. Sure, flights are cheaper, but if you can’t afford to take the time off work coz of all that tax you be paying, then you only pay once for the flights you aren’t taking. Every other tax payer who jets off? They pay twice.

The tax payers fund aviation to the tune of £9 billion per year. Illustration by Kevin Bradshaw.

So, while the words of the government support reducing carbon emissions, their actions most emphatically do not. People like the Climate9, who take them at their word and do what they can to call attention to high carbon emitters and attempt to help the country achieve its targets, often find themselves arrested on some very odd chargers. Breach of the peace? Vandalism? I’d rather have a mini-golf course in my backyard that a runway, used by planes which breach the locals’ peace with their noise, cause localised air pollution, and run on oil, of which the methods of extraction are causing some serious devastation globally. Heard of the Alberta Tar Sands? That’s some vandalism right there, and you can’t just roll a fresh coat of paint over the top. The people who propagate the destruction of the environment are the real criminals and the Climate9 are hoping that their actions, and trial, will help to expose the hypocrisies of the government, and spread the word on the need for urgent action among people, not policies.

The trial start date is currently set for the 14th of June, and in the run-up to, and during, the trial, there are talks and meetings being held to show support for the Climate9 and push others to challenge the authorities with pride and confidence. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to aid the cause, through organising talks to call attention to the Climate9’s actions and government hypocrisy, dancing up some donations at a ceilidh, tweeting up the issue, sending in statements of solidarity, getting (favourable!) press coverage and involving as many people as possible throughout the blogosphere and via posters in order to “challenge the values of a legal system which too often undermines rather than supports the integrity and health of the Earth; and lets the real criminals go free while persecuting those brave enough to speak out for justice and future generations.”

I went along to one such talk at the School of Oriental and African Studies last week. Speakers included Dr. Geoff Meaden, a geography professor and key witness at the Kingsnorth 6 trial, Liz Hosken, Director and co-founder of the Gaia Foundation, and Matt Todd, editor of Attitude. Each speaker gave compelling evidence for climate change and outlined ways in which we are making a wreck of our planet. All called for a revolution in the way that we live and act when it comes to environmental issues, and all praised the Climate9 for taking direct action. Matt spoke about his efforts to get green issues into Attitude, writing a column entitled An Inconvenient Poof but found that even interested and worried parties still wouldn’t attend demos or change their lifestyle and habits. Liz made the point that it is industrialists who are vandalising the planet and emphasised the need to align current issues, showing that environmental injustices are just as much human injustices, and affect everyone. Jenny Griffiths, from the Climate and Health Council, reminded us that drought caused by climate change is already causing resource wars in poor countries such as Darfur. Ultimately, the information given was nothing that I, and probably most of the people in the lecture theatre, hadn’t heard before, but it’s good to know that there are such a variety of experts and professionals with such a passion for spreading information about climate change and the ways of combating it out there, who are willing to stand up next to activists and support their actions.

Everyone who spoke gave a call to arms. The time for hoping that the government policies will solve all ills is over. The Climate9 have led by example, and we need to let ourselves be inspired to take direct action and start up some civil disobedience. If nine people and a makeshift golf course can cause this much hassle and strife, I wonder what a whole campfull will achieve in Edinburgh later this year?

If you want to get involved with the Climate9 campaign, then head to their ‘Support’ page to find out their suggested actions to help out. If you want to get involved in generally saving the world, then keep an ear out for political or environmental hypocrisy in your local area, and do whatever it takes to make a difference.

Categories ,activism, ,Airport Expansion, ,Attitude, ,aviation, ,ceilidh, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Change, ,Climate9, ,Direct Action, ,Donald Trump, ,Gaia Foundation, ,Kevin Bradshaw, ,SOAS, ,Tar Sands, ,Tax

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Amelia’s Magazine | Earth Listings 19th -25th October 2009

No rest for the wicked or the socially and politically minded, ed hospital this week ends with another action packed weekend with the anarchist bookfair and the 350: International Day of Climate Action as well as plenty to keep you occupied during the week.

October Wind Farm copy
All Illustrations by Hannah Lewis

Positive Change
Tuesday 20th October 2009 ?

Positive Change is a careers seminar for people interested in environmental, conservation and sustainable development careers. You’ll also learn about the fair trade movement and just where the opportunities lie.

Venue: SOAS, University of London
Time: 5:30pm

Wild Law in Action at Gaia Foundation
Wednesday 21st October 2009

A talk held at the Gaia Foundation by Polly Higgins about a journey to the United Nations to deliver the ‘hard law’ – the Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights. The rolling out of the ‘soft law’ – the Universal Declaration of All Beings, more commonly referred to as the Peoples’ Declaration will also be highlighted.
Venue: Gaia Foundation, 6 Heathgate Place, Agincourt Road, London NW3 2NU?
Time: 6.30pm?
Tickets: £10

Climate Change Academy
Wednesday 21st October 2009

A one day workshop for all the family to help encourage families to learn more about living low carbon lives as well as give them handy advice on how to save energy in their own home. The workshop is free and includes lunch.

Venue: The Window 13 Windsor Street
Time: 10am until 3.30pm

October Cycling copy

Get involved in Guerilla Gardening
Thursday 22nd October and Saturday 24th October

Help to enhance a community nature garden, create a nature trail and plant a monster hedge in Markfield Park, N15. The group meets fortnightly Thursdays and monthly Saturdays. Wear appropriate clothing for outdoor work and weather conditions.

Venue: Markfield Park cafe, N15?Located on River Lee, between Tottenham Hale station and Springfield Park, just off Seven Sisters High Road.
Date: Thursday -?Starts 1-4pm, & fourtnightly Saturdays -?2-4pm

A workshop on Pedal-powered generators
Saturday 24th October

Want to make your own emissions-free electricity, independent of fossil fuels and expensive solar arrays and wind turbines? Discover how to use your own bike as part of a small power station, capable of powering computers, stereos, TVs and other small household appliances. This method makes a great use of your bike when you’re not riding it around town. In just one day find out all you need to know to assemble a bike-powered generator. The classroom will be bike-powered throughout the day.

Venue: Hackney City Farm, London

Recycling October copy copy

Anarchist Bookfair 2009
Saturday 24th October 2009 ?

For all your anarchist requirements: books, pamphlets, t-shirts, videos, badges, posters and the rest. Veggies will be doing vegan food from outside the venue; a huge selection of groups and individuals will be holding talks, sure to be a very informative day.

Venue: Queen Mary & Westfield College, Mile End Rd. E1 4NS
Time: 10-7pm

March Against the War in Afghanistan
Saturday 24th October 2009

?The march is called by Stop the War Coalition, CND and BMI?.The march will be lead by anti-war military families & soldiers and will include speakers Peter Brierley, who recently refused to shake Tony Blair’s hand because it had his sons blood on it; Lance Cpl Joe Glenton, serving soldier facing court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan and George Galloway MP; musician and poet

Assemble 12 noon Hyde Park: March to Trafalgar Square

The Bigger Picture: Festival of Interdependence
Saturday 24th October 2009

Festival of Interdependence is a free interactive, living exhibition staged in the dramatic post-industrial setting of the Bargehouse on London’s South Bank. There is 3 floors of talks, workshops and exhibitions as well as a talk on Copenhagen from 2pm and a report from the swoop at 5pm.
The main exhibition will be opened for one day only. The event coincides with 350: an International Day of Climate Action which aims to highlight the importance of getting back to 350 ppm carbon dioxide he safe limit for humanity.

Time: 10.30 – 19.30
?Venue: Bargehouse, South Bank

Categories ,Anarchist bookfair, ,Gaia Foundation, ,guerilla gardening, ,International Day of Climate Action, ,listings, ,Pedal-powered generators. March Against the War in Afghanistan, ,Positive Change, ,The Bigger Picture

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