Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Brasilia 2007

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Cyclists protest. Critical Mass 10th anniversary, South Bank, London, April 2004.

Thirteen years ago in 2007 I was not in London but in Brasilia, where I had gone for the opening of my show on environmental protests in London, part of Foto Arte 2007, a huge photography event that stretches on for 3 months with over 20 international shows and more than a hundred individual and group shows from Brazil, apparently in 57 locations across the city. The theme of the festival was ‘Natureza, Meio Ambiente e Sustentabilidade‘ or in English, ‘Nature, The Environment and Sustainability’ and my contribution representing the UK was a set of 24 colour pictures of environmental protests in London – including a picture of Brazilians leading the last mile of a 1000 mile Christian Aid ‘Cut the Carbon’ march past Tower Bridge.

My work was in show in a local community centre in one of the ‘Quadra’ which make up the living quarters of the city around its central core. My show was backed by the British Embassy and they had also arranged for me to give a lecture – and provided simultaneous translation for my Portuguese speaking audience.

‘No Fumes Here’. World Naked Bike Ride, London, June 2006.

Because I was very aware of the planned nature of Brasilia, a new capital city built from scratch, which I described as “really the ultimate flowering of the modern movement in architecture and planning, planned by Lúcio Costa (1902-98) and with many buildings by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer, 100 on December 15, 2007 and still working” I had decided my talk would be about my own photographs around London and more generally about “the photography of the urban environment and some of the changing ideas in planning, and how the invention of the car had completely altered our cities. Ideas about Garden Cities at the end of the nineteenth century had been overtaken by urban sprawl.”

‘London Underwater 2050 Tour of the G8 Climate Criminals’, European Social Forum, London, October 2004.

During my stay I also got to see all the other shows then taking place, and also was treated to several of the finest restaurants in the city (including a lunch with the Ambassador and the director of the festival) and was taken around the various sites of the city – including the many Niemeyer buildings by a daughter of one of Costa’s team of planners. It was an exciting few days, though very stressful at times.

One of Niemeyer’s most famous buildings, the cathedral in Brasilia – Fuji FinePix F31fd

I’d known I would have a busy time with little chance for any serious photography and had taken with me just a small pocketable digital camera, a 6Mp Fuji FinePix F31fd, and used it as a notebook during my stay. A few of the almost a thousand pictures I took are on My London Diary, but there are many more which I now find of some interest, and perhaps I’ll upload more onto Flikr shortly.

Uncle Sam’ as the Grim Reaper in Trafalgar Square, Kyoto Climate March, London, February 2005

I wrote quite a few posts about the visit here on >Re:PHOTO, including brief review of some of the other exhibitions in Foto Arte 2007, starting with one just before I caught the plane, Foto Arte 2007 Brasilia with my full set of 24 pictures and continuing after I arrived home and into January 2008.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Oct 1 2016: Heathrow Climate Die-in

Thursday, October 1st, 2020
The die-in begins

I’m not a great fan of Prince Charles – or any royalty who I think are all parasites whose ancestors stole the land from the people and are still fleecing us in various ways – but I had to agree with him when a few days ago he called for a ‘Marshall-like plan’ to combat climate change, which he warned will “dwarf” the impact of coronavirus, with potentially devastating consequences. Perhaps he was still rather underplaying the danger we all face, but if he and David Attenborough were ever to come to power we might just see a shift in our establishment and government that could at least alleviate some of the more disastrous effects of global heating.

Protesters wait with travellers in the Departures lounge

But I’m not optimistic. Averting catastrophe will require drastic changes in our economic structures and ways of life which will impact the highest polluters most – and that “1%” are those who currently run most of the world to feed their ever-unsatiated greed. The rich are the rich because they have always put themselves first, and have never given up their advantages without a fight – and have always been able to afford the better arms and armies.

One thing that will have to change is aviation. Flights by a relatively small proportion of people make a ridiculous contribution to greenhouse gases – not just by weekend private jet flights to Perugia but much more by ‘frequent fliers’ on regular services. But it isn’t just the emissions from burning fossil fuel in flights, but the huge amounts of energy and materials in making planes and airport infrastructure which present a problem, as well as the effects of global freight leading to deforestation and other environmental problems around the world. Even if hydrogen-fuelled aircraft were to remove most of the pollution problems of actual flights the aviation industry will remain a climate threat.

Some had aprons with messages and read out information and there were speeches

Back in 2010 I was with local campaigners celebrating the cancellation of plans to expand Heathrow by building an extra ‘third’ runway. But lobbying by the aviation industry and a deliberately short-sighted ‘Davies Report’ put it back as government policy in 2016, though in 2020 a judicial review ruled that the government’s decision to proceed with building the third runway were unlawful as they had failed to take into account the government’s commitments to combat climate change.

The protest inside Heathrow’s Terminal 2 took place as the government were preparing to back building the third runway again in 2016 and was organised by Reclaim The Power. It was a part of a global wave of resistance to airport expansion on environmental and social grounds, and took the form of a ‘flash mob’ with a well choreographed event, beginning with a die-in over which frequent fliers stepping over their dead bodies and luggage to a champagne fast track check-in desk, followed by songs and dances.’ There were other protests at Gatwick and in Austria, France, Mexico, Turkey and elsewhere.

A protester dressed as a frequent flyer steps through the die-in

I just a just a little nervous anticipation beforehand about photographing the event, which was taking place in a privately owned space, though one open to the public, but airport security made no attempt to stop me or the protesters other than keeping us outside the security zone. I think the organisers had made clear to them that they were not attempting to greatly disrupt the airport and would not be causing any damage.

‘Frequent flyers’ party

Outside the airport where 150 cyclists were protesting things were a little different, with police over-reacting hugely to a relatively minor protest, shutting down roads across a large area for several hours. They turned what would have been hardly noticeable to travellers in the area into a major incident.

Many more pictures from the protest inside Terminal 2 at Heathrow flashmob against airport expansion.

XR Sea of Protest

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Back in November 2016 I attended a vigil outside the Honduran Embassy in London for  environmental activist and indigenous leader, Berta Cáceres, assassinated either by forces of the state or by groups encouraged by the state. Before her murder she had  death threats from the Honduran National Police and judicial harassment.

Very much to my surprise, Berta Cáceres returned to London this April in the shape of a large pink yacht named in her memory which Extinction Rebellion (XR) had brought to block Oxford Circus to traffic and create a “sea of protest“.

I arrived some hours after the yacht which was by then surrounded by protesters and with various activities taking place, including an induction course for new arrivals and some music. Getting ready to perform were a group of people dressed in red, representing I was told the blood of extinct species and those – like our own – threatened by the Earth’s sixth global extinction event, now getting into full swing thanks to the efforts of the fossil fuel industry and its supporters, particularly President Trump.

I didn’t stay long on this occasion, as other things were happening elsewhere across London. XR intended to keep the roads closed until the government takes necessary action on the global climate and ecological emergency, and this particular action continued from Monday until Friday, when I returned to photograph the police taking action to clear the junction.

More at: Extinction Rebellion Sea at Oxford Circus.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.