Climate Camp 04

Protesters on their way to Drax

The Camp for Climate Action is a campaign gathering based on the old peace camps. The 2006 Camp's aim was to take action against the causes of climate change and to develop ways to create a carbon-neutral society, i.e. one which does not release greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. The camp acted as a base for direct action against major carbon emitters such as Drax. It ran on broadly anarchist principles - free to attend, supported by donations and with input from everyone in the community for the day-to-day operation of the camp.

Trying to demonstrate sustainabilityEdit

The Camp for Climate Action gave an example of what a sustainable society might be like. Power for lighting, radios, mobile phones, sound equipment and laptop computers was supplied by solar panels and a wind turbine. There was a strong emphasis on the use of bicycles and public transport, including a Bicycology tour [1] from London via Lancaster. Biodiesel from recycled cooking oil was available for other vehicles. There was even a pedal-powered laundry and sound system. Much of the material used to created structures for the camp was reclaimed waste from building sites which would otherwise have been sent landfill. Composting, including compost toilets, comprehensive recycling and grey water systems were used to keep the amount waste to a minimum.

Claiming that 'livestock is a major threat to environment' [2] all food was vegan, mostly organic and locally sourced to minimise food miles, provided by communal neighbourhood kitchens, many associated with the Social Centres Network, co-ordinated by the Sumac Centre and Veggies Catering Campaign.

Over one hundred and sixty workshops ran throughout the camp, sharing practical skills on living sustainably, on subjects such as the science of climate change, environmental justice and the effects of climate change on people in the global South, corporate 'climate criminals', direct action, childrens' workshops, and many more.

Drax ProtestEdit

The camp was on a squatted site, situated close to several large power stations including Drax, a coal-fired power station which is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide in the UK [3].

On August 31 2006, up to 600 people attended a protest called Reclaim Power converging on Drax and attempting to shut it down. There was an impressive 'kids march' to Drax Power Station, with a giant ostrich puppet, made by the The Mischief Makers. Two protesters climbed a lighting pylon at the edge of the Drax site and four others broke through the fence [4]. At least 3,000 police officers, from 12 forces from as far afield as Hampshire and London, were reported to have been drafted in for the duration of the protest. Thirty-eight protesters were arrested. The police reported that work at the power plant was not disrupted, though eye witnesses reported having locked-on to various machinery inside the power station, thus stopping work. No coal went into Drax that day, with the railway line in being blocked off. [5]

Other protests arising from the camp included a protest against a nuclear power station in Hartlepool, Teesside. [6].

Continuing CampaignEdit

The Camp for Climate Action was organized over a period of almost a year though a series of monthly meetings, held in Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Leeds, Bristol, London, and Talamn (near Glasgow). Anyone was welcome to attend planning meeting and to join one of the working groups. There were no 'leaders' and meetings used consensus decision making. The camp was run entirely by volunteers and was funded by private donations.

It was felt by many that the Camp marked a turning point in grass-roots campaigning against the causes of climate change [7]. The network forged at the Camp continues to work on campaigns to highlight and tackle the causes of Climate Change, participating in actions drawing attention to (for example) road building [8] and the climate effects of cheap air travel [9].

Regional and national meetings continue [10], working towards another Camp to be held for from August 14, 2007 near Heathrow Airport. These have already occurred in Manchester, Leeds (twice), Bristol, London and Liverpool.

Related Edit

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  • Environmental direct action in the United Kingdom W

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