Black Lives Matter brings a UK airport to a standstill over climate change

Support us and go ad-free

UK Black Lives Matter (UKBLM) protesters grounded all flights from London City Airport on 6 September in a protest against the disproportionate impact that climate change has on black people in the UK and across the world.

Nine people were arrested after occupying the runway. In a statement, UKBLM said:

Whilst at London City Airport a small elite is able to fly, in 2016 alone 3,176 migrants are known to have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean.

Read on...

Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis.

We note, however, that the UK is willing to charter special flights to remove black people from the country based on their immigration status.

In the video shared on UKBLM social media outlets, a range of black activists quote figures including the fact that, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees, there could be two hundred million refugees displaced by climate change – and possibly up to a billion.

They point out that seven out of ten of the countries most affected by climate change are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Studies by UNICEF have further determined that climate change is already impacting the lives of people – especially the young – in countries that are already fragile.

In fact, all over the world, it is the poor and most vulnerable people who will suffer first from climate change. In many cases, ethnicity is inextricably linked with poverty. And it is for this reason that UKBLM has declared that “the climate crisis is a racist crisis”.

London City Airport, the group points out, is located in Newham – an area where 40% of the population earns £20,000 or less, there is a well-publicised housing crisis and, as UKBLM member Joshua Virasami told BBC London, a prominent black community. He said:

In Britain, 28% of black people are more likely to be exposed to air pollution… being in closest proximity to the industries causing climate change.

It is often the case that industrial areas, power plants, and airports are in more disadvantaged areas. And when ministers approved the £344m expansion of City Airport earlier this year, they didn’t just threaten the well-being of the communities in Newham. They threatened to worsen climate change for the rest of the world.

The group’s action certainly had an impact. All flights to and from the airport were suspended.

Whether the disruption will cause the people who need to take heed to listen remains to be seen. But one thing seems certain – UKBLM isn’t going anywhere.

Get Involved!

– Follow UKBLM on Twitter.

Support The Canary so we can keep bringing you the news that matters.

Featured image via Twitter/Black Lives Matter UK.

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us

Comments are closed