Action for climate justice at Heathrow

In October I found myself surrounded by over 300 other climate justice activists, some of whom were fellow Quakers, at Heathrow Airport. On the day we held a 'flash-mob' die in and a critical mass bike ride. We were there to oppose any kind of airport expansion and the increase in carbon emissions, air pollution and noise that it would bring, and to highlight the social injustice of who is paying the real price.

people lying on the ground pretending to be dead. Sign reads stop airport expansion stay grounded.
Stay Grounded airport die in © Reclaim the Power 2016

Taking action for climate justice

The action at Heathrow had been organised by Reclaim the Power, but was connected into a much wider movement for climate justice. The action at Heathrow was designed to include this wider movement. This included a response to the recent migrant crisis that the world is facing, changing climate is one of the reasons why so many people are being displaced. There was a recognition that the British Government is creating policies which make forced migration more difficult, but are letting big corporations and polluters go unchallenged and free to expand. This is why the critical mass bike block also protested outside the refugee and detention centre, with banners saying 'the climate crisis is a racist crisis'.

What had led me here?


....For us it is not so important when the perfect world will be achieved or what it will be like. What matters is living our lives in the power of love and not worrying too much about the results. In doing this, the means become part of the end. Hence we lose the sense of helplessness and futility in the face of the world's crushing problems.....That is the beauty of the way of love; it cannot be planned and its end cannot be foretold.

- Quaker faith & practice 24.60


After a long and still incomplete period of self education and reflection with regard to environment, social change, and spirituality I have begun to conclude that making representations for change to those currently in power is futile. Money and power, it seems, will always work to further the interests of money and power. The only way I can see to circumvent this destructive loop is to press for radical social change through nonviolent direct action and the formation of new social movements.

Prior to reaching this conclusion my faith had been helpful in trying to come to terms with and accept the destruction of the biosphere that I felt powerless to prevent. Now I am inspired to live adventurously. Sometimes when I apprehend the magnitude and determination behind the destruction going on I am reduced to tears contemplating the words at Quaker faith & practice 24.60.

What will I be doing next?

Since joining this demonstration I have been on a second, at which I was arrested for peacefully blockading access to the airport. I hope to be able to go to future protests. It is very empowering to be acting on my principles with the support of my local and area meeting.

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