Climate change activism has dominated the UK's recent protest scene - but will it last?
Activism special Where next for eco-activism in the UK?
Bibi van der Zee
6th July, 2011
After the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks, the undercover police scandal, the disbanding of Climate Camp - and the sudden rise of UK Uncut - Bibi van der Zee takes the temperature of Britain's green activism movement
Exhaustion set in after Copenhagen. After three years of campaigning ever more intensely, only to be engulfed in the dark sand storm that was the international climate summit in December 2009, you could feel the whole movement subsiding into cramping collapse. 'Copenhagen was kind of a pinnacle, a culmination; people in Climate Camp had been working towards it for a very long time,' says Daniel Garvin, who travelled with Climate Camp to the summit. 'I came back very tired. And during the year afterwards, for Climate Camp at least, a lot of internal politics raised their head. In truth we just weren't very clear about what to do next. And a lot of people took to soul searching.'
Copenhagen, was after all, the culmination of a crescendo of effort by thousands of activists around the world over several years, frantically trying to whip up political will to take action on a crisis that campaigners could see coming ('one of the most concerted pieces of mobilisation ever seen' as Guardian journalist John Vidal describes it).
In 2001 Campaign against Climate Change was founded by Phil Thornhill. In the next few years Thornhill was relieved to see a growing engagement with the subject: 'It felt as if things were...
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