Protest #9 on Saturday, 2019-05-18, Stockholm Arlanda Airport

I protested against carbon emissions from air travel risking climate breakdown today, Saturday, 2019-05-18, 13-15:30pm, at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. I showed a poster about carbon emissions of a flight Stockholm-Bangkok-Stockholm (4.2 tCO2e) in the context of the average carbon emissions per person per year in Sweden (10.1 tC02e) and a sustainable amount of carbon emissions (2.3 tCO2e) [1]. I distributed about 80-100 “Bend The Carbon Curve!” stickers [2], less than at previous protests because I was instructed to protest in the arrival area outside Terminal 5, ie one floor below. Considering that the proportion of arriving passengers was much higher in the arrival area than in the departure area, I noticed that passengers were much less willing to accept a sticker or engage in conversations. My explanation was that after a long travel, passengers were more tired and frustrated and therefore more negative towards climate-crisis-related information.

Highlights:

  • Shortly after beginning my protest, three security guards showed up and told me that they had gotten a flood of complaints that I was causing disturbance to the passengers and hindering them entering the terminal building. They also requested my permission by the police to protest, which I showed them (all fine!).  I explained that I was actively approaching and talking to passengers, but it was not clear to me how I was hindering them from entering the building, because I behaved in an amiable and friendly way. After calling their boss, they were instructed to guide me from the Terminal 5, Departure, Drop-off zone to the Terminal 5, Arrival, Bus-stop zone, where I was allowed to freely move around and talk to passengers. While I was escorted by three security guards through the Terminal 5 building, which attracted a lot of attention and I thought was very cool,  I took the chance of holding my protest poster in a very visible way :-). As usual the security guards acted in a very professional and adequately friendly way.
  • I distributed my stickers to a group of air hostesses and pilots of Airline Emirates, who were very interested and friendly. One of the hostesses even told me that she wrote her thesis on carbon emissions from coal power plants in Poland in her program of study on Chemical engineering (or something like that). However, the bus driver was less appreciative and threw the sticker at me after he realized what it the sticker was about.
  • Everybody of a group of 8-10 airport workers taking a break outside  the Terminal 5, who witnessed the angry reaction of the bus driver, took a sticker and one woman actually complemented me on protesting on my own and was very appreciative.
  • One British (?) passenger actually told me that he had written three books about how carbon dioxide was good for the planet, and refused to take my sticker.
  • An air hostess taking a smoking break declined taking a sticker explaining that she was working for SAS (What does it say about the company culture?).
  • I met some friends of mine with their family on their way to the plane (only slightly awkward).
  • A few people actually thanked me for protesting and shook my hand.

The must-have selfie (sorry, I only thought about it when I was already on the bus):

[1] http://biosphere.wilmarigl.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Poster_Flight_Emissions_2x2.pdf

[2] http://biosphere.wilmarigl.de/?p=543

 

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