Next week, a few dozen unaffiliated activists intend to start something they call Heathrow Pause. They will each fly a toy drone within the restricted zone around Heathrow airport. The drones will fly nowhere near the flight paths, and never above head height, ensuring they present no risk. But any drone activity forces the airport to suspend all flights. The activists know they face arrest and possibly long prison sentences. Their plan is to launch their drones consecutively, stopping flights for as long as possible: perhaps for several days. In doing so they seek to denormalise one of the most destructive activities on Earth. Once unthinkable, then a bizarre novelty, then an extraordinary luxury, then a hope, then an expectation, flying – and flying frequently – is now treated as a right. (…) Those who defend the sector point out that it currently produces “only” 2.4% of the world’s emissions. But this is because just 20% of the world’s people have ever flown. In terms of individual impact, taking a flight, because of the quantity of fuel it uses, inflicts more harm on the living planet and its people than anything else you are likely to do. Even in rich nations, flying is overwhelmingly concentrated among the wealthiest citizens. In the UK, 15% of the population accounts for 70% of flights. Those most likely to fly frequently, according to House of Commons research, have a second home abroad and a household income of more than £115,000. We are told that flying is about freedom. It is: the freedom of the rich to destroy the lives of the poor.
George Monbiot in History will be kind to Heathrow climate protesters who stop us flying (Guardian)