Written by Eric Lombard While the aviation sector and governments promise a new era of “sustainable” aviation fuels (SAF), we know that it will divert much-needed resources away from other sectors and take decades to happen, if at all. Yet there is an efficient way to...
#StayGrounded – Counter Aviation
From 30th of September to 14th of October 2018, people around the globe held colorful actions and events showing that in the face of the climate crisis, aviation growth cannot continue – as well as highlighting more environmentally sound and socially just forms of mobility. 27 actions took place in the Philippines, Mexico, France, UK, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia and Switzerland.
Aviation is the most climate damaging form of transport and one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. But it‘s not just an environmental issue – it‘s also a matter of justice. While less than 10% of the world population have ever set foot on an aircraft, communities in the Global South, which have barely contributed to the climate crisis, are affected most. And: while it‘s obvious that we have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 1,000 airport infrastructure projects are planned worldwide. This implies land grabbing, biodiversity loss, soil sealing, repression,hampering particpation, noise and health issues. We unite our local struggles to send a strong message that aviation growth cannot continue – not here, nor anywhere!
The resistance against aviation growth is rising. Current climate “solutions” from the industry and the UN (like offsetting and promoting biofuels) are highly problematic and are being decided this year: On October 3rd and 4th, the Europe “European Aviation Summit – Up to the next level” debated about European Aviation strategies. Coinciding, the annual industries’ greenwashing event, the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit, took place. In November the details of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation were discussed. We showed that resistance exists and send a clear message to policy makers: On October 1st, the position paper “STAY GROUNDED – 13 steps for a just transport system and for rapidly reducing aviation” was launched to spark the debate about aviation. Our message: here and no further! No more greenwashing, no more false solutions! We are joining forces to counter aviation and its unjust consequences!
29.09.-20.10: Actions in favor of night trains (all over France)
Oui au train de nuit calls for actions in favor of night trains as alternatives to planes: Tarbes (30.09.), Toulouse (3.10.), Besançon (5.10.), Nice (6.10.), Bayonne (7.10.), Carcassonne (12.10.), Pau (13.10.), Perpignan (13.10.) defending night trains in the “March for the climate”, Paris (13 octobre) Stand at the March for the Climate and action (14.10.) at Austerlitz Station.
30.09. Public Assembly against ‘Bulacan Aerotropolis’ (Bulacan, the Philippines)
The National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organizations in the Philippines (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas), held an assembly at the town of Obanda in the Bulacan province. The assembly was participated by residents and fisherfolk of Obando and Bulakan, where the Bulacan Aerotropolis will be built by the San Miguel Corp. (SMC). Around 700 fishing and coastal families will be displaced if the project pushes through. Bulakan is known as one of the key biodiversity areas in the country and is a home to 22 types of mangroves. 24 hectares of fishing reservation areas will be wiped out because of the land reclamation for the airport, this also mean loss of the traditional fish species and fish catch of small fisherfolk in the province of Bulacan. After the assembly, there was a tour around the community and pictures of some mangrove trees and fishponds at stake were taken. See press release
30.09. Forum: Resistance and Rebellion against the New Airport (Texcoco, Mexico)
01.10. Solidarity with the Stansted Defendants (Chelmsford, UK)
In 2017, 15 people grounded a deportation charter flight to Nigeria/Ghana at Stanstead Airport for ten hours to prevent it taking off. They are standing trial, charged with a terrorism-related offence that could result in life imprisonment! At the announced start of the trial, a solidarity event will took place with hundreds of supporters in front of Chelmsford Crown Court. Hosted by End Deportations and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.
2.10. March commemorating the 1968 massacre of students in Tlaltelolco (Mexico City, Mexico)
As part of the commemoration of 50 years of the massacre of students in Tlaltelolco, Mexico in 1968, there was a march in Mexico City with messages alluding to the Stay Grounded Action Weeks against Aviation Expansion and the New Mexico City International Airport (NAICM) in the Texcoco Lake. The event was organized by Organizaciones del Oriente del Estado de México en Defensa de la Tierra, el Agua y su Cultura, and Frente Amplio No Partidista en contra del Nuevo Aeropuerto y otros Megaproyectos en la Cuenca del Valle de México.
3.10. Countering the European Aviation Summit (Vienna, Austria)
Activists from the Austrian climate justice group System Change, not Climate Change interrupted EU Transport Comissioner Violety Bulc, when talking about green flying at the European Aviation Summit: “Greenwashing of aviation is not a solution! Flying is the fastest way into the climate crisis. Offsets and biofuels are part of the problem. When politicians closely together with industry take harmful decisions, it is our right and our duty as civil society to interfere!”. The European Aviation Summit took place on 3rd and 4th of October in Vienna, with European politicians and aviation industry – climate action and environmental issues were not on the agenda, civil society was not invited. Watch video of the action.
4.10. #NoToHeathrow Court Hearing (London, UK)
Members of Stay Grounded: RisingTideUK, Biofuelwatch, Reclaim the Power, Vote No Heathrow, Campaign Against Climate Change and the No3rd Runway Coalition joined more than 100 others for a morning of music, speeches and solidarity outside the UK’s Royal Courts of Justice in London from 9am to show the government and Heathrow Airport Ltd what we thought of their irresponsible and dangerous plans to expand the airport. The hearing determined that all of the legal claims against Heathrow’s expansion will go to a full Judicial Review (of the National Policy Statement on Airports) by 2 judges for 2 weeks from the 11th or 18th of March in 2019. There were 5 submissions: Local Authorities backed by Greenpeace and Mayor of London; Heathrow Hub, the rival expansion scheme; one by a resident impacted by Heathrow; Plus Friends of the Earth (EW&NI); and Plan B (both of these 2 specifically on grounds that the government has failed to deliver an effective plan to tackle the climate change implications of expansion).
4.10. Is flying a human right? -Panel Discussion on Climate, Aviation and Trains in the EU (Copenhagen, Denmark)
At least 150 participants joined the evening with Jesper Theilgaard (meteorologist and TV weatherforcaster), Jeppe Juul (President of Transport & Environment), and Kurt Bauer (Director for far-distance travels, Austrian Federal Railways). During the event, a petition 25.000 signatures demanding night trains to Scandinavia, was presented and will soon be handed over to the Transport Committee. Hosts: Det Økologiske Råd, NOAH, 350 Klimabevægelsen, Rådet for Bæredygtig Trafik. Read more here.
6.10. Photo action (Amsterdam Netherlands)
The Dutch National Civic Council on Aviation (Landelijk Bewonersberaad Luchtvaart – LBBL) sent a photo message with to all the people in the Stay Grounded network: “We’re ready to fight together to prevent more climate impact, noise pollution and ultra fine dust particles of aviation!”. The LBBL consists of private citizens and protest organizations near the 6 major airports in the Netherlands. It came together for the first time this year to share knowledge and coordinate actions, but also to make sure they are not the victim of “divide and rule” policies of the national government and aviation sector.
6.10. Bavarian-wide demonstration: Mia ham’s satt! (Munich, Germany)
18.000 people joined a demonstration in Munich demanding “Farms instead of agroindustry, Nature instead of Concrete”. A whole block by Aktionsbündnis München AufgeMUCkt protested against the expansion of Munich Airport with a 3rd runway. The protest took place in the run up to the county wide elections in Bavaria. The goal of the March was to shift the populist debate within the election campaign towards a debate for a better and sustainable future for Bavaria and the steps a new government would have to take towards this future.
6.10. Street actions on flying and night trains (Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark)
In Aarhus, a street action Bevar Jordforbindelsen and Rådet for Bæredygtig Trafik brought attention to night trains as alternatives to flying. The action in Copenhagen took place in front of the Spies travel agency and the ørestadens subway station in Copenhagen. A banner was installed and stayed on the square for two hours while six activists shared material and talked to people. Bevar Jordforbindelsen invited to make a symbolic promise to fly less next year – and there was overwhelming support for that! For more information see: Bevar Jordfordbindelsen
6.10. Panel Discussion introducing Stay Grounded (Gent, Belgium)
Zomer Zonder Vliegen (Summer without flying) presented: Stay Grounded. Panel Discussion introducing Stay Grounded, with Paul Peeters (Aviation expert, Breda University), Laurien Spruyt (Bond Beter Leefmilieu) and David van der Ha (Crisscross). The panel discussed the issue of sustainable travel through different perspectives: behavioral change among citizens, the role of policy, the sense of CO2 compensation, …. Also, Flemish Member of Parliament Ingird Pira received the Stay Grounded position paper in which Zomer Zonder Vliegen calls for a decisive policy that restricts the growth of the aviation sector. Watch the recording of the event here.
6.10. “One way ticket to the climate crisis” (Arlanda, Sweden)
Flyglarm Arlanda dressed up as Stewards and Stewardesses and handed out plane tickets to the climate crisis in the commuter train passing Arlanda Airport. Note, after a 2°C warming, customers will be denied to go back! Watch video here.
7.10. “Show us the Flight Paths” Rally (Sydney, Australia)
“Tell Us The Flight Paths! – then, Stop Building Western Sydney Airport!”, was the motto of a rally organized by Residents Against Western Sydney Airport (RAWSA). The action put pressure on the Government to release the location of Flight Paths for the new airport planned at Western Sydney. The participants showed their concern and protest that the government wants to spend billions before telling the communities where the planes will actually be flying and who loses in the no sleep lottery of the airport project. In its desperation to ignore public opinion and the facts, the Government is trying to advance the airport construction effort as quickly as possible and have given much media coverage to a symbolic start to construction. Common-sense, the environment and the well-being of our community is the basis of RAWSA’s efforts to stop the project.
8.10. Schokofahrt Finale (Münster, Germany)
Schokofahrt is a decentrally organized private bike-tour to transport chocolate without aviation and carbon emitting transportation. The chocolate is brought to Amsterdam Port by sailship and is then picked-up and transported by the different bike tours to cities in Germany, such as Münster and Austria.
9.10. Complaint at ICAO Regional Office, (Eastern Mexico State, Mexico)
Talks with communities endangered by new Mexico City International Airport (Tlaxcala, Mexico)
CPOOEM traveled to and had talks with communities in the State of Tlaxcala, where as in the State of Hidalgo and the Eastern State of Mexico hills are being blown and materials extracted to continue filling the floor of Texcoco Lake in an attempt to prevent it from sinking and flooding, since the airport is planned to be built on the lake area. The states of Hidalgo and Tlaxcala are also taking land from indigenous peoples and peasants for the construction of wind farms and a giant solar energy power plant to supply the new Mexico City international airport (NAICM).
12.10. Panel discussion “Turnabout Mobility – The Challenge to Stay Grounded” (Vienna, Austria)
Representatives of a British trade union, of the civil society networks Stay Grounded and Back on Track, as well as university professors, will discuss how to organize a transition towards an ecologically sound and just transport system. What are challenges and promising approaches, especially when focusing on aviation and just transitions for workers?
Documentation of the event
13.10. The Climate Generation at Geneva Airport (Switzerland)
Members of Lausanne Action Climat occupied the terminal of Geneva Airport with a musical intervention to denounce the non-action of authorities: “We are the climate generation: let’s not waste a minute to take action for 1.5 degrees!”. Watch video here.
14.10. Action “Trains, not Planes” (Vienna, Austria)
The Stay Grounded network demands a shift of short and medium haul flights to the railway, wherever possible. Instead of reducing night trains in Europe, they should be fostered. An action in the public, organized by the Stay Grounded network together with the Back on Track network, made this demand visible.