After 12,000-mile flight to green meeting, there’s MUTINY in the Climate Camp

By Jason Lewis

climate camp

Climate Camp protesters gather at Waterloo bridge. The group’s leadership has been accused of hypocrisy after they sent two members on a £1,200 round-trip to Bolivia

A decision by a climate-change group to fly leading activists 12,000 miles to a conference threatens to tear the movement apart.

The leadership of Climate Camp – which is opposed to flying and airport expansion – have been accused of hypocrisy after they sent two members on a £1,200 round-trip to Bolivia.

The leaders argued it was necessary to attend the ‘transnational protest’ – even though the flights generated eight tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gases

Now a furious backlash against the trip threatens to split the group, which in the past has blockaded Heathrow airport and clashed with police at demonstrations against coal-fired power stations.

A memo circulated to Climate Camp members claimed the group had been taken over by a ‘clique’ who were manipulating its work.

The note claimed ‘the same small group controls all aspects’ of the movement and that a ‘stagnant culture’ ensured the ‘same people always filled the same roles’.

One activist wrote on the group’s Facebook page: ‘If you believe flying halfway around the world is a necessary mission for Climate Camp, I feel you are sadly deluded.’

She added: ‘It is an absolute disgrace that any Climate Camper would even think about going by air.’

The activist later submitted a formal complaint to the group. She said: ‘There was no due process in permitting two Climate Campers to travel to Bolivia by plane.

‘There was little discussion on the mode of transport to be used and no consensus to permit it.’

The complaint provoked a furious backlash from Ben Hart, one of the activists who flew to Bolivia. In a series of postings on Facebook under the pseudonym Gringo Ben, he lashed out at opponents of the trip.

He wrote: ‘Get over it, if you wanna play this liberal self-denial game…I’ve been vegan for 17 years of my life and gone many years without a car.

‘If I died tomorrow and didn’t take my return flight or any others in the future, the planet would still be being ruined.’

He added: ‘You seem to think Climate Camp is, or should be, purist, but the Camp is not dogmatic but actually quite pragmatic when it comes to the compromises necessary to engage in campaigning.

‘It’s bang out of order to point a finger at us in this way and question our role in the Camp. It was a Camp decision, good or bad.’

Climate Camp describes itself as a grassroots movement and is supposedly controlled by its membership at regular meetings.

But the group of angry members claim they are ‘disillusioned with the process’ and that ‘it is alienating new attendees and undermining the motivation and commitment to the movement’.

They said in their memo: ‘The hierarchical culture that is forming is dishonest and is in contradiction of our non-hierarchical principles and aspirations.’

Source: Daily Mail

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One Response to “After 12,000-mile flight to green meeting, there’s MUTINY in the Climate Camp”

  1. Ben Says:

    The Mail on Sunday were forced to concede that the article was inaccurate and misleading. They printed the following apology on 24/10/10 and also appended their online version.

    “The above article reported accusations of hypocrisy over a decision to fly delegates to a conference in Bolivia. We cited critical quotes from an internal email but, in fact, these did not relate to the conference decision. Additionally we misattributed Facebook comments to campaigner Ben Hart and incorrectly said he had attended the conference. We apologise for these mistakes.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1278770/After-12-000-mile-flight-green-meeting-theres-MUTINY-Climate-Camp.html?ITO=1490#ixzz13SbDlMqs

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