If you live outside the UK, chances are that you haven’t noticed the climate “camp” protests at Heathrow. Despite various forecasts of direct action, there seems to have been very little action and a lot of sitting around. I’m left wondering why they bothered.
One obvious answer is the famous “Something must be done! This is something. So we’ll do it”. Another is that its fairly cheap and easy (both for the protesters and the organisers) and (since they wimped out of any kind of confrontation) safe too (I’m being a bit unfair there).
Was it perhaps to persuade people onto their side? Presumably not, since they made no attempt at coherent argument. Indeed, in a clever PR stunt, the airline pilots offered to meet the protesters to put their views that “aircrafts are minor polluters, that air travel is not the fastest-growing source of emissions and that most flights, compared with other transport modes, are green” but the protesters wimped out, on the implausible grounds that they were “too busy”. Arguably they could see it was a set-up, but its hardly the response of someone confident of winning any intellectual argument, is it?
I’m assuming they though that being here and demonstrating would somehow win people to their side. Its only just recently – indeed about this event – that I’ve realised how fatuous this is (yes, call me naive). All the protesters do is call attention to the issue. If they do anything, it is to crystallise unformed opinion one way or another. Why they should expect that to favour flying-is-bad I’m not sure. *I* think excess flying is bad, but without some facts as to why, to balance the obvious advantages, why should anyone be convinced.
You can read their own aims here. I find it unconvincing. And the idea that it was sustainable seems laughable.
However, they are still a lot better than the bozos who write letters to the Torygraph.
[Coming soon: my uninteresting review of HP VII!]