Friday, February 06, 2009

Greenpeace's F-U to Heathrow Expansion -- The Conscious Earth

In one of the best PR stunts I have seen in some time, Greenpeace joined with actress Emma Thompson, comedian Alistair McGowan and conservative political hopeful Zac Goldsmith to buy a plot of land directly in the middle of the proposed site for Heathrow airport's third runway expansion.

And while the current Labour government won a narrow and divisive vote on the issue, Greenpeace's hijinks did not end there. They invited as many supporters as legally allowable to co-own the property with them in the hope that any action taken by the UK government to obtain the land would require them to legally serve each owner in person - whether they live in London proper or the west coast of Bora Bora.

I have offered my opinions on air travel previously, but here is a reiteration. Environmental responsibility is a global value requiring each person to not only act responsibly towards all other human beings, but also to extend that awareness beyond people to the broader world that we all rely on. That requires looking past narrow interests into ever expanding circles of value, and one of the most powerful ways to engender that awareness is to enable others to witness, first hand, the full scope of the world and the diversity of its people.

Airlines should be accountable for their emissions and efficiency like every other sector of society, but moving to restrict or reduce air travel per se is not part of the answer. For without witnessing the world beyond their own shore, why would a person on a beach in Bora Bora care enough about a mile of tarmac in London to play an active role in stopping it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OK. But not by flying from Heathrow...