Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Will Heathrow Climate Camp Persuade Us?
1. Projecting the Green Message
This is not easy- as I have argued before on this blog, modern society has become addicted to its high carbon emission comforts of food, shopping, cars and cheap flights. While the dire facts detailed in the Stern Report say we have a decade at most to change our ways, denial succeeds in excluding the individual. Rationalisations are employed- 'I'm not dong anything until the US and the rest of the world do' is a popular one along with 'what possible difference can my tiny contribution make to ending the crisis?' Something powerful is needed to break through such self delusion and it hopefully- contrary to cynical predictions- it won't have to be that very disaster which green campaigning is striving to pre-empt.
2. Direct action at Heathrow
The Heathrow climate camp is indeed shaping up to become another Greenham Common without the gender aspect. Claiming that the decision over the runway has already been made, Monbiot states:
So what else do the critics of direct action expect us to do? How else do they suggest we drag this issue out of the shadows and thrust it to the front of the public mind?
He has a point. But it's maybe too early to say what public attitudes will pan out to be on the climate camp. Past experience suggests that once direct action on green issues wins middle class support media led public opinion becomes supportive. Remember how Wilmslow's finest turned out to support Swampy and co. over Manchester's second runway and the animal loving blue rinse brigade did the same over the export of live animals at Brightlingsea? Swampy became a minor celebrity for a while and the nice, clean, idealistic middle class kids who supported him were not seen as scruffy Marxist trouble-makers or dreadful muddy lesbians as at Greenham Common.
It's too soon to say which way the media will swing over Heathrow: so far the Daily Mail jury is out but the well ordered nature of the protest bodes well so far. As long as the direct action chosen does not go over the top, the camp might well survive to make a point which is absorbed by a public hitherto unwilling to escape the confines of its climate change denial.
I am no longer going to buy *still* bottled water - especially when living as I do most of the time in a city which is blessed with high quality drinking water.
On the rare occasions I actually drink the stuff, I shall fill up straight from the tap.
Now come on George Bush, if I can make this sacrifice, you can sign the Kyoto Agreement!
Links to this post: