STUDENTS FROM the University of Edinburgh have taken a more direct approach against global warming by joining the 1,500 protesters at the prospective new coal plant in Kingsnorth, Kent.
The German company E.ON intends to replace the existing power station with a £1.5 billion coal fuelled plant and build a further six coal plants across the UK if granted by Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. It has been estimated that the Kingsnorth plant alone would emit between six to eight million tons of carbon dioxide a year, making Britain’s target of reducing carbon emissions impossible and increasing the likelihood that global warming will spiral out of control.
The Government’s antipathy with green issues has led to many people taking a more direct approach to encourage climate action and increase the pressure on energy companies to put people and the planet before profit.
Climate Camp is one recent form of direct action that has been taken, in which volunteers spend ten days at an organised location. Climate Camp is not just about the marches and protests that are publicised in the media. It also includes workshops on tackling global warming, education on sustainable living and creates an awareness that social change is needed in order to save our planet.
However, Climate Camp has been heavily criticised not only by the Government and subsequent police presence, but also in some forms of media for disguising criminal activity with a moral and selfless motive.
Amanda Grimm, University of Edinburgh student and a member of People and Planet, said that Climate Camp “was an amazing experience. Direct action is the best way to achieve social change by capturing media attention and creating public awareness”. It seems that green activists believe that direct action is the only way forward in the Climate Change Movement.
Public opinion certainly does seem to be changing because of the direct action in the Climate Change Movement. Jury members recently acquitted six Greenpeace activists for criminal damage against the Kingsnorth plant in October 2007.
It appears that Climate Camp and direct action is getting the message across to the public that something needs to be done about global warming, while politicians and fuel companies, ignoring the Green message, continue to drive the planet to combustion.