Polar bear flashmob at Heathrow Terminal Two draws attention to aviation threat to UK CO2 target
Over 30 polar bears invaded Heathrow’s recently opened Terminal Two in a protest against plans for a 3rd runway. In a lively flash-mob, the polar bears hung up banners, played in the terminal and danced to music produced by sound systems. They were watched by somewhat bemused travellers …….The action, which started on the dot of 11am, lasted about 30 minutes. No arrests were made, as the protesters left of their own accord. The direct action network Plane Stupid is thought to have been behind the protest which was timed to coincide with the big “Time to Act” climate change march that took place in central London at lunchtime. Many of the polar bears travelled to Westminster, to take part in the march. The building of a new south east runway, whether at Heathrow or at Gatwick, would mean that UK aviation carbon targets would be breached (the Airports Commission is aware of this) and UK carbon targets would also be at risk. To permit expansion of aviation CO2 emissions, all other sectors have to make cuts of over 85% – even 90% – in their carbon emissions. Otherwise the UK would not meet its legally binding carbon target for 2050. A Plane Stupid spokesperson said: “If the Government is serious about tackling climate change, it should not even be thinking about a third runway at Heathrow.”
Polar Bears invade Heathrow Terminal Two
Great video of the dancing etc too – here
On Saturday over 30 polar bears invaded Heathrow’s recently opened Terminal Two in a protest against the third runway. The bears hung banners, played in the terminal and danced to sound systems. The action, which started on the dot of 11am, lasted about 30 minutes. No arrests were made as the protesters left of their own accord.
The direct action network Plane Stupid is thought to have been behind the protest which was timed to coincide with the big climate change march that took place in London yesterday.
“Rob Gray” from Plane Stupid said, “If the Government is serious about tackling climate change, it should not even be thinking about a third runway at Heathrow.”
John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the anti-third runway campaign group, which was alerted to the protest, said, “Plane Stupid played a famous role in defeating the third runway last time round. This action is a warning that the direct action protesters will be out in force again if a new runway is given the green light.”
One of the polar bears, interviewed after the event, commented:
As well as about 30 bears, there was someone dressed as a pilot who unfortunately got attacked by bears! There was lots of chanting “No Third Runway” etc and banners. A couple of polar bears tried to display a banner over the balcony of a café but this was rapidly taken down by staff – who were definitely not amused! There were mixed reactions from other airport staff. One security woman would have liked to cart us all off to the Tower. Other airport staff thought it amusing and took photos of the flashmob, as did many real tourists. As well as the bears (many of whom were young bears) having great fun, there was a deep sense of commitment and determination – and very real concerns about the climate impacts of a new runway.
Many of the polar bears then made their way , on public transport, to take part in the Climate March taking place in central London.
Strong “No New Runways” bloc gets its message across at the London Time To Act Climate March
The huge “Time To Act” on Climate Change march was held in London on Saturday 7th March. There was a good turnout, described by some as “over 5,000″ and by others as nearer 20,000 (numbers are always hard to be accurate on). The “No New Runways” bloc had a good attendance, from Gatwick and from Heathrow opposition groups, as well as many individuals. Gatwick protesters from CAGNE wore pantomime devil horns, and T-shirts with the logo “Gatwick, Neighbour From Hell.” Many people who stand to lose their homes, to be bulldozed for a new Heathrow runway, too part. The AirportWatch banner read “No New Runways”, and another” Aviation Expansion = Climate Threat. The runway bloc were with others in the transport bloc, and marched from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Parliament, where the speeches took place. During the speeches John McDonnell (the MP for Hayes and Harlington, which the Heathrow north west runway would wipe out) spoke of the need for climate action, not least to oppose a new runway – digging up the village of Harmondsworth. He described the level of protest and direct action that would happen, if the north west runway was recommended, as unprecedented and the “mother of” all environmental battles. The aim of the march is to put pressure on political parties before the general election, and raise the profile of climate change ahead of crucial climate talks in Paris in December.