Climate 9 video series: 'Organising the press'

This weeks video is the fourth in the series. If you want to know how to harness the press in all it's forms, watch this video!

We will be releasing the last video of the series next Wednesday so stay tuned for 'Mobilising Support!'. All the videos can be found together by following this link.

Plane Stupid UK meets Plane Stupid Germany

It was always going to be a match made in heaven as on the weekend activists from Plane Stupid met for the first time with campaigners from Plane Stupid Germany at the first ever International Airport Residents Conference held in Munich.

The stories were similar. Munich Airport wants a third runway but are being met with fierce resistance. Like Sipson in West London, Attaching, the location of the conference just outside Munich, is facing the demolition of people's homes and community to make way for another runway.

250 people who attended the conference, mostly locals, heard stories about the impacts of aviation on people's everyday lives. The stories from all over Europe were different, but each time there were many similarities. The noise impacts are always horrific, air pollution rates are out of control and the most worrying reality of all this planned airport expansion is that we're surely left with no chance of preventing the worst affects of climate change.

However, resistance is rife. From Nantes to London, Munich, Berlin, Leipzig, Austria, Brussels and in Frankfurt where over 1500 people are occupying the airports terminal every Monday, ordinary people are fighting back all over Europe.

The campaign in Munich in particular has a great chance of success and John Stewart's (Chair of Airport Watch & HACAN) talk at the conference on 'how the Heathrow campaign was won' offered much inspiration.

Last year, in an almost copycat protest to when Plane Stupid members famously got on top of the roof of Parliament, activists from Plane Stupid Germany organised a banner drop at their Town Hall. And as we have in Sipson, activists have now built great relationships with the community around the airport who are faced with losing there homes. At a recent region wide referendum, the votes counted showed that most people now oppose a third runway at Munich, a result that the Plane Stupid Germany activists can take much responsibility for.

The second day of the conference was a campaigning session where we made a presentation on the history, justification and previous examples of direct action taken by ourselves. The German activists and residents were left inspired, and although the majority of them are a lot older than we are – to our amusement we must add, if the government don't scrap the third runway plans soon - I wouldn't be surprised if we see a member of Plane Stupid Germany on the newspaper front pages super-glued to a politician in the near future.  

Climate 9 video series: 'Building a campaign that works'

This weeks video is the third in the series. Following on from Vlog1 'Introduction to the Climate9 and Vlog2 'Fighting the Law' we have 'Building A Campaign That Works!' - which focuses on the initial steps in the campaign to take climate criminals to the courtroom.

You also get to meet lots of the parents in this episode which offers an interesting insight into the activists family life. We will be releasing the last two of the five part series on the next two following Wednesdays - next week stay tuned for 'Organising the Press' which will be aimed at all of the media heads out there.

If you have any requests, interview / article ideas or would like to donate a few pennies for the film production costs please email press[at]planestupid.com

Climate 9 video series: 'Fighting the law'

As we mentioned last Wednesday, in light of the interest raised by the Climate9, the group’s defence committee have produced 5 short films. This weeks video is the second in the series.

Following on from The 'Introduction to the Climate 9' video is FIGHTING THE LAW - which focuses on the initial steps in the campaign to take climate criminals to the courtroom. If you want to know how to harness and build a strong team of lawyers watch this video. 

This resulted in the first climate change jury trial to take place in Scotland and the biggest in the UK since the failure of the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen. The trial brought global public attention to the need for action in order to prevent runaway climate change.

We will be releasing the next three on every following Wednesday - next week stay tuned for 'BUILDING A CAMPAIGN THAT WORKS!'.

‘How ordinary people take on the state for environmental justice’ Powerful videos released from the Climate 9

You may remember the Climate9 trial that took place at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in 2010. The trial of the nine young activists, who played golf on the runway of Aberdeen Airport and in the process stopped hundreds of tonnes of carbon emissions being emitted as they shut down the airport made international headlines.

This resulted in the first climate change jury trial to take place in Scotland and the biggest in the UK since the failure of the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen. The trial brought global public attention to the need for action in order to prevent runaway climate change.

In light of the interest raised by the Climate9, the group’s defence committee have produced 5 short films. The online films - 'How Ordinary People Take on the State for Environmental Justice' – powerfully document the way nine ordinary people fighting for environmental justice challenged the legal system. The films are intended to be used as learning tools for activists, individuals and groups. 

The 'Introduction to the Climate 9' video above is the first in the series and we will be releasing the next four on every following Wednesday - next week stay tuned for 'FIGHTING THE LAW'.

The Climate9 received support from diverse organisations, including leading anti-racist groups (The Monitoring Group), pioneering environmental justice groups (Capacity Global), world leaders in community environmental governance (The Gaia Foundation), top spiritual bodies (The Muslim Council of Scotland) churches, politicians (Caroline Lucas), NGOs (Friends of the Earth Scotland and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland), musicians (Linton Kwesi Johnson), journalists (John Pilger) and many many more.

Tilly Gifford, member of the Climate9, said: 

"We protested about aviation, the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions in the UK, but at the heart of the trial was our fundamental right to protest. These videos are intended not just as a record of what we did but as an aid to other activists."

The conviction related to a direct action taken in March 2009, when the Climate 9 shut down Aberdeen airport and directly stopped 107 tonnes of Carbon emissions from contributing to man-made climate change. They played golf in a cage on the taxiway to highlight the fact that the airport's expansion will also pave the way for Donald Trump's contentious golf course for the super rich at the Balmedie Estate.

Following a two week long trial in August 2010 all nine defendants were convicted of breach of the peace for their role in the protest. However, in the appeal and to this day, all the Climate9 activists firmly believe that the action they took was justified, proportionate and necessary in the face of catastrophic climate change.

Plane Stupid, who were involved in the Aberdeen protest, are open to suggestions and welcome invitations for how we can share this story and help catalyse other communities challenging the state and the law. Please get in touch via press@planestupud.com if you have any suggestions.

40,000 form human chain around the ZAD

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If any more proof is needed that direct action works, take a trip to Nantes in western France.

Fifteen or so miles outside the city, the regional authority backed by the French national government, has been trying to build “Nantes International” Airport. It claims it is required to replace the single runway airport in the city in order to attract investment into the area. The opponents commissioned their own study which refuted those claims. They also point out that Nantes is just a little over two hours by fast train from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. The new airport is dismissed as little more than an ego project of the former major of Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault, now the Prime Minister of France. It has been dubbed ‘Ayrauoport’.

Last weekend (11th May) I was one of the 40,000 or so people who formed a 25 kilometre-long human chain around the site of the airport. The huge numbers have been inspired by the direct action of last winter. During the winter months there were tear-gas battles in the woods as police fought to remove hundreds of young protesters who had set up make-shift homes in support of the local community.  The courage of the protesters from the self-styled ZAD as they resisted the police in the bitter cold and driving rain of last winter both cemented their support in the local community and inspired people from around France and beyond.

Now there are support groups, called “committees”, in 200 towns and cities.  Each group stages demonstrations in their own towns and lobbies politicians in their own areas in support of the Nantes campaigners. Hardly a week goes by without one of the committees cycling or walking through France to the site of the proposed airport. Last weekend on my way back from the protest I spied a billboard in Le Mans– over 100 miles from Nantes– opposing the airport.

The ZAD resistance followed on from the 28 day hunger strike staged last year during the presidential election campaign by four peasant farmers against the plan to evict them from their properties. 

The local community has fought a great campaign over the years – and recently won an important court case in the courts where the judge ruled that the airport’s promoters had failed to carry out proper flood plain and environmental assessments of the project, as required by the European Union.  The campaigners believe that the ruling from the court may provide a way for the Government to drop the airport and save face. But the reason the Government is under so much pressure is because of the way that direct action – the hunger strikes and the resistance from ZAD – electrified support from across France. No wonder there was such a carnival atmosphere last Saturday. We were holding hands around an airport that will probably now never be built.