DONE! I pledge to participate in a communications blockade of Heathrow Airport on Nov 19th to say #StayGrounded - no airport expansion, if at least 50 people join me. This will involve telephoning specific numbers, accessing specific webpages and posting on social media like Facebook and twitter (whichever I am confident in and in a specific time slot or slots to suit me). I do this as part of a wider set of actions taking place at Heathrow on that day so people across the UK and world can say no to climate changing aviation expansion.
RESULT: over 40 people said they would participate via FB and also via the pledge. Heathrow closed down some phone lines and had a system in place to deal with some calls - in that way they had had to respond to us. Its hard to know the exact impact but it felt successful and we learned how to improve for future actions.
Dear Heathrow Communication Blockaders!
It’s on. The Guardian knows it. Heathrow knows it. Over 250 people have pledged to take part for climate justice.
Whatever happens tomorrow, there is so much gratitude and love for all of you who have helped bring this together – huge admiration for everyone’s courage to stand up to what’s happening in the world around us.
Thanks for signing the pledge to participate through a communications blockade tomorrow (Saturday 19th), which will involve:
- Phoning up a certain number of Heathrow phone numbers and keeping people on the line
Phoning some Rupert Murdoch owned newspapers
- Posting on messages on Heathrow facebook page and twitter (where you are able to)
- Sharing updates about the protests on social media (where you are able to)
Regarding the issues we are dealing with this website: WWW.CLIMATECHANGEISACRISIS.COM has a lot of information that you may find useful.
At the bottom of this section you will find a list of telephone numbers. Please do take a moment to read through the introductory stuff at least once. It is important to consider your own safety (in all senses) and feel confident.
What you do is entirely up to you - it may consist of simply ringing numbers and when someone answers say “Who is that?…Oh sorry wrong number” and hanging up. Or you may want to try and engage people who answer in debate, or give them your opinions, or just talk about irrelevant time wasting things.
One thing you must absolutely not do, for your own peace of mind as much as anything, is be rude or offensive. You will reap what you sow - be charming, be wacky, be entertaining, but do not engage in personal criticism or abuse, direct or indirect, of the person you are talking to. There is a good chance that they know that the job they do is unsustainable and antisocial.
As you know there are at least actions happening at Heathrow (LHR) itself on Saturday. The purpose of this additional action, which you can do without having to go physically to LHR is threefold:
- To support the direct actions by causing an additional amount of disruption to the operation of the airport. It may only be tiny, but the effects are cumulative.
- To feed in criticism of the mainstream media narrative regarding flying in general (in the context of the climate crisis and the need to massively cut all types of fossil fuel use now), and the LHR proposed new runway in particular, and to propogate an alternative view
- To experiment with this kind of action, find out what works and what doesn’t, find out how it could be improved and then do it again, but better.
Obviously it is a Saturday so most office based functions are closed. We have been careful not to target airport operational sections that could directly impact on safety.
We have identified some specific LHR numbers that we think may be manned, and also some ranges of numbers to try at random. LHR is an enormous operation with many many businesses. Geographic numbers (020 8745 xxxx) tend to get allocated in blocks so it is always worth trying the next higher or lower number if you are getting no answer.
In addition we are aiming to target the newsdesks of the Murdoch press as they are particularly bad in their reporting of both climate issues and also coverage of alternative views. The Sunday Times and The Sun have separate newsdesks, one number for each which will accept several simultaneous incoming calls fed to a number of news editors.
These people are perhaps more likely to be rude and intolerant once they realise that you are wasting their time. Be prepared for this - remember they can’t see you, they can’t hurt you, don’t take what they say personally.
Before you start phoning you might want to turn off caller id on your phone settings. This may be under phone settings when you have the phone app open, or under sim & mobile settings in the main settings area. There should be an option to select who can see your caller id. Setting this to no-one will prevent someone calling you back or blocking your phone from calling them again - but equally some people will not answer a phone if the caller id simply says “private number”.
Finally what to say. It is worth having a name and location in mind (which may not be your own). When placing a call the recipient is a lot more likely to accept the call if you start off by introducing yourself “Hi, this is Steve calling from Leamington. Who is that please? …”
The primary objective is to keep them talking as long as possible. If possible have a pad of paper and a pen to hand, write down the number you called. If you get a name from them note it down and use it back to them. If you get an indication of their job or function note that down and feed it back in to us for future use.
How you drive the conversation forward is up to you - be as creative as you like. You might start by asking whether a particular flight is delayed, this then gives you an opportunity to say that you’ve heard that there is some protest actions going on at LHR and ask them what they think about that. Don’t contradict opinions that they might offer, try and reflect the opinion back in a modified form - “yes they are a bunch of hippie anarchists but I do wonder if they haven’t got a point. It does seem odd to be building a new runway when the government is also telling us that we are all going to have to use a lot less petrol. What do you think?”
With the newsdesk numbers your in might be to appear to be tipping them off about a story. “Have you heard about what’s happening in Leamington?” and then spin them some yarn about a jumbo jet that has been circling around the town for two hours. Again you can then turn the conversation to Heathrow “I wondered if this was something to do with what’s happening at Heathrow”.
News editors may well want a number to call you back on - give them a fake number or the number of the LHR media centre or one of the other LHR numbers and let them do our work for us.
OK. Some numbers
020 8745 7224 - LHR duty media office
there seem to be quite a lot of other 020 8745 77xx numbers in use. Worth calling and trying to find out who it is then dropping with an “oh sorry, wrong number” if it is not promising
020 8745 5821 - Terminal 3 Arrivals
020 8745 5550 - Terminal 3 Control
Probably worth trying numbers close to these 58xx and 55xx
020 8745 4540 - Terminal 4
We think that a lot of terminal 4 numbers are in the 45xx range
Sunday Times - 020 7782 5670
Sun - 020 7782 4104
Newspaper PR offices
Sunday Times - 020 7782 5623
Sun - 020 7782 6019
NB these may be switchboard numbers - be prepared to ask to be put through to a news editor as you’ve just seen or heard something amazing (that Pink Floyd flying pig has taken to the air again?)
Since the main switchboard numbers are 020 7782 4000 (Sun) and 5000 (STimes) you could surmise that 020 7782 56xx numbers are quite likely to be random desks in the Sunday Times and 020 7782 41xx will be in the Sun. Try it and see and note what you find for future use.
You can still pick the time slot for your phoning.
2. Posting on Heathrow’s social media
Pick some messages to post on Heathrow’s facebook page from http://www.climatechangeisacrisis.com/ (scroll down)
Tweet @heathrowairport with messages like
We will not accept a third runway @heathrowairport #climatechangeisacrisis #risingup
No thanks to @heathrowairport for their #worstgiftofall to local residents – community bulldozing and air pollution #nonewrunways #risingup
(This refers to their cheezy Christmas advert #bestgiftofall)
3. Heathrow actions social media – reposting
We hope these actions will be widely reporting- an uprising of people saying no to airport expansion through protest and direct action. Please check out our feeds on our action facebook page and through twitter @risingup101 #climatechangeisacrisis #risingup and repost things to your facebook and twitter where you can thanks!
LET US KNOW HOW IT GOES!
Use the comms blockade facebook event page to stay in touch and also check on the pledge page if the facebook page goes down. Finally email email@example.com if you want to be in touch that way.
Good luck and have fun – never give up – Together we are irresistible!
Rising Up! Roger and Gail xxx
Heathrow on 19th Nov. is a first trial for this. We will do it again targeting other damaging organisations when there are other actions happening against those organisations to increase the effect and widen participation in the action.
This is not done in opposition to people working for these organisations - we all collude in different ways with a system that is broken, out of control, and creating environmental and social injustice across the world. You are asked not to be rude or offensive to those you contact, the objective is to waste organisational time and overload their communication channels.
This isn't about blame, but it is about saying this system needs to stop and those organisations which perpetuate and enhance the system are rightly a target of protests to cause disruption. Change has largely come through people being willing to disrupt and confront power structures.
Further blockades may be organised relating to this issue or others and we will let you know in case you would like to get involved if you are available. This action is part of a series coming from the social movement Rising Up!
About the Pledge Holder
I am Roger Creagh, based in Cornwall. I am leading this aspect of the Heathrow action day with a team that are supporting us. This is very much a way for those of us who can't get to Heathrow on the day to help support the actions in a small but practical way.
Up until about 2002 I used to do a serious amount of flying, both business and "pleasure" but as I re-engaged with the ecological movement I came to realise that almost none of these flights were necessary, and even those that seemed important could have been achieved by lower impact travel. Since 2005 I have found it completly unneccessary to fly, although I still travel far more than the average human, including internationally.
Almost all air travel is generated by the wealthy (in global terms) people of the world. We have no 'right' to fly to mediterranean beaches, let alone the other side of the world, whilst our total impact as individuals remains so grossly above what the ecosystem can support. I have been waiting for an opportunity to draw attention to this imbalance and take practical steps towards restoring it. This action is not about personally criticising those who fly. We are all responsible for our own choices. It is about disrupting the system that makes it too easy and cheap to make bad choices. Please join us in becoming part of a major movement against excessive pollution; the situation has become urgent and the time to start to act is now.