Climate Campers - setting back the environmental cause?

Nobody who follows environmental news can have failed to notice the impact that the Kingsnorth Climate Camp activists have had on the headlines this month.

Campaigners have heralded the camp a success, claiming that the mass protests on Saturday managed to disrupt operations at the power station.

On Sunday, the Climate Camp's website boasted: "This weekend, we proved our power.

"Today, we learned that - despite E.ON's bluster that the power station had been running normally all weekend - we most definitely succeeded in disrupting its operations."

Now I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but briefly disrupting activity at a power plant for ONE day seems a pretty futile activity to me.

Although I don't doubt the honourable motives behind the Climate Camp, I can't help feeling that all of the time and energy that went into the protests at Kingsnorth, RBS, BERR and elsewhere (see related story) could have been put to better use.

Will mucking about with superglue and breaking into power stations really prompt a major shift in public attitudes and Government policy?

Or will it just give Government and big business the excuse to tar all environmentalists with an "extremist" brush, and persuade anyone who's on the fence when it comes to environmental issues that, actually, greenies are all just tree-hugging loonies with too much time on their hands who are diverting already-overstretched police resources away from tackling actual crime?

I can't help worrying that it will be the latter.

Government will pay just as much attention to this protest as they did to the mass marches in the streets against the war on Iraq and university tuition fees.

The Climate Campers' energy could be much better spent spreading the green message among the public - without the use of adhesives - and making environmentalism mainstream.

Where public opinion goes, business will have to follow - they can't afford not to. And let's face it, it's the business world that really has the power to change the way things are done in this country, and change it as quickly as we need to if we're going to prevent catastrophic levels of climate change.Kate Martin

Topics: edie
Tags: | crime | opinion | war
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