Climate 9

Climate 9 video series: 'Mobilising support'

This weeks video is the final in the series - watch above or click here for 'Mobilising Support' 

Thank you for all the amazing support, networking and requests for further action trainings - the spirit of Climate9 lives on in all the incredible actions and movements spiralling out there on the streets to change the future for the better once and for all!

Over the past 5 weeks we brought you campaigning Video (1) 'Introduction to the Climate9 and (2) 'Fighting the Law', (3) 'Building A Campaign That Works!', (4) 'Organising the Press' and today's 'Mobilising Support'. If you want to know how to mobilise a diverse range of environmental, social, racial, gender and economic justice movements for climate action then please watch.

The full series can be found on our website via this link: http://planestupid.com/category/blog-tags/climate-9-video-series

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.

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.

An appeal to better judgement

Today defendants Tilly Gifford and Dan Glass from the Climate 9 had their appeal heard at Edinburgh Appeal Court against the conviction they received last summer for a breach of the peace.

The conviction related to direct action taken in March 2009 where the Climate 9 shut down Aberdeen airport and directly stopped 107 tonnes of 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 serve to deliver Donald Trump's super-rich golfer pals to his contentios course at Balmedie Estate.

Following a two week long trial in August 2010, which was the first jury-led climate change trial in Scotland, all 9 defendants were convicted of Breach of the Peace for their role in the protest. Dan and Tilly made the decision to appeal against the conviction as they hold firm to the belief that the action they took was justified, proportionate and necessary in the face of catastrophic climate change.

Appellant Dan Glass said:

"The Scottish legal system defines breach of the peace as an activity "causing fear and alarm to the ordinary and reasonable person, and which threatens serious disturbance to the community". I can't think of a better way to describe climate change. Sometimes, we believe, the law must be challenged to protect our fundamental freedom of expression and to disrupt lawful activities that are harming the prospects of future generations. Furthermore, it's the role of a democracy to protect the voices of the minority as well as the majority".

The appeal has reached its final stages after months of anticipation and against the backdrop of severe climate change, as recent estimates suggest an unthinkable 4 degree temperature rise by 2080. During the 4 hour hearing this morning the court heard a strong case from the defence, who argued that the jury wasn't given any sense of this grave context regarding both the importance and urgency of the protest.

Appellant Tilly Gifford said:

"The judge presented a choice to the jury between 'breach of the peace' and 'freedom of expression' without any context. This is simply not good enough. The jury should be given the serious climate change context of the situation relating to the case, otherwise the inference is completely abstract from the reality."

The appeal verdict will be heard within the next 6 weeks in a final court hearing. A date is not set yet. If it is successful it will set an important precedent for future protest cases, through actively defending freedom of expression and supporting the legitimacy of the right to protest given the governments inaction to effectively tackle climate change. It would be the first legal case in Scotland to engage with the severity of climate change that we face and challenge the 'business as usual' attitude that the aviation industry is taking in its expansion plans.

Plane Stupid spokesperson, Joe Ryle said:

"Aviation remains the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions in the UK and we cannot let this go unchallenged. However the heart of this debate is about our fundamental right to protest and whether we are prepared to tolerate greater disruption to business as usual in the face of climate change."

The key to organising in our communities

CtrlAltShift Blog #5 - Jimmy Kerr - Fighting airport expansion has never been easy. At a time of economic turmoil, when people are worried about their livelihoods, the battle for our communities becomes even more challenging. All of this means that Plane Stupid, CtrlAltShift and others must not only be inventive when it comes to organising within our communities, but must fully capitalise on the inspiration created by our actions, integrating our own organisational skills into the momentum that the actions create.

I live near Glasgow Airport, where Plane Stupid Scotland has developed a strategy of building an alliance of groups from a wide range of backgrounds. Each group is involved in different forms of struggle, and will be willing to come together to fight climate change, supporting Plane Stupid's actions and eventually becoming a network of self sustaining and mutually supportive organisations.

This strategy began to take shape in 2008, as the Scottish Government consulted on expanding Scottish airports. Under the aegis of Plane Speaking we held public consultations ourselves, exploring the concerns of residents affected by the proximity to airports. The events were well attended and lots of groups were keen to do something, but there were few ideas of how to move forward and virtually no appetite for direct action. It was clear that we would have to be inventive if were to build any sort of momentum towards creating the network of self sustaining groups that we had imagined.

We then organised a speaking tour with people from the Heathrow campaign who crossed the country holding meetings. It was hoped that these communities would somehow organise themselves on their own, and although this proved difficult, a new kind of network was beginning to take shape. This was a network not of active direct action groups as such, but a network of allies, ready to at least engage with the idea of climate action and, crucially, to lend vocal support. We were beginning to pave the way for the acceptance of climate action and more importantly the creation of a set of alliances that would later explode into life.

It was our closure of Aberdeen Airport that changed the game. Groups that had previously been silent on issues of aviation and climate change now raised their voices. Where I stay in Paisley, just a mile from Glasgow Airport, all kinds of groups including the local Transition Town, the local Trades Council, trade unions and local leftists all gave public support for the Aberdeen action. The same thing was happening across Scotland. Feelers were being put out, enquiries were being made, groups were taking an interest and previously inactive individuals from the places we visited in 2008 were discovering new appetites for climate justice.

The most exciting aspect of this new buzz was the way that different groups were joining the dots for themselves. Anti-poverty groups were making connections between aviation subsidies and fuel poverty, anti-racist groups were angry about the racial effects of global warming and even religious groups began raising their voice, questioning the wisdom of airport expansion as we approach precipice of unstoppable climate change. It was clear that we had to capitalise on this new momentum and try to bring these fledgling allied networks to life. This was the underlying motivation for a public campaign around the trial of the Climate 9.

It was a campaign that really brought different groups out into the open, providing genuine opportunities for collaboration and community organisation. Our original goal of creating self sustaining local groups to fight airport expansion is still some way off, but the seeds of activity are growing, and taking unexpected forms. From collaborations with film makers, to working with human rights lawyers, to creating a legal book for future activists, to completely separate projects like So We Stand, a new network of allied groups fighting poverty, racism and climate change through popular education, activities continue to spread and grow stronger. With this solid foundation, and this new momentum, Plane Stupid Scotland can now set about the task of going back to our communities, with new allies and new perspectives on the links between aviation and climate change.

The important lesson from the Climate 9 experience is that it doesn't matter how knowledgeable you are about organising resistance. It doesn't matter if you know how to organise a world cafe or have an in depth understanding of the work of Paulo Freire. If people don't believe in what you are doing, then your best efforts will be wasted. I believe now more than ever, that people are motivated to act primarily through inspiration, and that creating a bold, audacious action is worth more than a thousand public meetings. The challenge for the Climate 9 now is to use that inspiration and our organisational skills to finally create a strong self sustaining network...

Climate action as self defence

CtrlAltShift Blog #3 - Rosie Slay -  There are many ways in which self defence doesn't capture the aims of climate action. Self defence, in legislative terms, is a way of defending oneself and one's own interests, and climate action is usually taken to defend others. This is both those in the present who do not have the luxury of time before they face the consequences of a changing climate, and those in the future, who may not have the opportunity to defend themselves from climate change, because our generation's actions have pushed us too far.

Climate action is, however, self defence in a broader sense of the word; defending human life and human communities, rather than any one individual. As a species ourselves, we are completely intertwined with the wider biological system we live in: "Earth". If we choke the lungs of the planet we only choke ourselves. If we strangle the planet's life system (of clean air, water and natural resources), we, as one of the recipients of these life systems, will only serve to strangle ourselves.

'Self defence' is often understood as a reaction of someone who is under (immediate) threat. But in many cases, our laws and institutions protect rich individuals, big businesses and economic growth, having little regard for the future generations, the protection of natural resources or social justice. This is clear from the case of the Climate 9, who, seeking to defend themselves and others, have instead been found 'guilty' by the courts, for the actions they took to shut down a polluting industry.

I believe that, at this juncture of the fight against climate change, climate action should not only be excused as self defence, but accepted and encouraged as the only rational response to possible climate catastrophe. Climate action (in whatever shape or form) can be far more proactive and socially responsible than the finger pointing and lip service which constitutes the sum total of our own governments reaction to this challenge.

Climate 9 trial begins in Aberdeen

The Climate 9 and supporters outside Aberdeen Court

The first major climate trial since the failure of the Copenhagen talks has begun in Aberdeen Sheriff's court this morning. Nine defendants from Plane Stupid Scotland will face charges of Breach of the Peace and vandalism after closing down Aberdeen Airport in March 2009.

The group intend to take the battle for climate justice from the court of public opinion to the court of law in Scotland. They plan to highlight the social and environmental impacts of expanding the airport which they argue will mainly benefit a proposed luxury hotel and golf complex owned by business tycoon Donald Trump.

Interest has been building around the case since Climate 9 public campaigns were launched in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London, which have drawn global and local support for the group and helped forge alliances with social justice campaigners and racial justice movements.

The defendants are pleading not guilty on the grounds that their actions were to prevent the larger crime of runaway climate change and have assembled a witness list of world-renowned experts in climate related fields including public health consultant Jenny Griffiths and Geoff Meaden, who contributed to the successful Kingsnorth 6 defence as a flooding and mapping expert.

The defendants were joined outside court by around 50 friends, families and supporters.

For more information, statements of support and how you can help the Climate 9 see climate9.com/ or email info@climate9.com. You can also ring 077655 01687.

Climate 9: you're invited to the London launch!

On Thursday June 3rd, the Climate9 are holding an event in London to launch their campaign. You'll find top civil rights and climate justice advocates and lawyers, speakers from the Climate9 Defence Committee, details of the case from the lawyers, discussion on direct action and using the courts to call for real justice and even the 9 themselves.

The event runs between 6.30-8.30pm at the Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS University, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. Please send an RSVP to info@climate9.com so we know how many are attending (but come even if you forget to let us know!).

Speakers include:

  • Gareth Peirce: leading human rights lawyer and civil rights champion. In a career of more than 30 years, she has appeared for, among others, the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and the families of the victims of the Marchioness river boat disaster.
  • Suresh Grover: leading civil rights and anti-racism activist and founding member of The Monitoring Group. Over the past 25 years TMG have many led campaigns to help families including those of Blair Peach, Kuldip Singh Sekon, Ricky Reel, Micheal Menson, Stephen Lawrence, Zahid Mubarek and Victoria Climbie.
  • Matthew Todd: editor of Attitude, Britain’s best selling gay magazine, and advocate for diverse action on runaway climate change.
  • John Stewart: the Independent’s ‘Britain's leading environmentalist' and spokesman for campaign group AirportWatch
  • Liz Hosken: advocate for social and ecological justice, Liz co-founded and is Director of the Gaia Foundation, working with a global network of pioneers and visionaries.
  • Jenny Griffiths: “Climate Defence to Protect the Public Health” from the Climate and Health Council.
  • Dr. Geoff Meaden: principal Geography lecturer and key witness at the well-renowned ‘Kingsnorth6’ climate trial.
  • The Climate9 Defendants: Josie Hanson, Jimmy Kerr, Bill Boggia, Dan Glass, Tilly Gifford, Mila Karwowska, Jonny Agnew, Mark Andrews, Kate Mackay
  • Other speakers include: spokesperson for ‘Nottingham 114’.

Check out the Climate9 on Facebook

If you would like a stall please email us or call us on 075351 47478.