Protest #4 on Saturday, 2019-03-30, Arlanda Airport, Stockholm [updated]

Today I have distributed about 120 [1] “Bend the carbon curve” climate protest stickers [2] between 14:00 and 16:00pm in the arrival area, Terminal 5, Arlanda Airport, Stockholm. I asked the arriving passengers “Would you mind taking this sticker, please?”, and if they showed continued interest I explained to them that the sticker showed the so called “Keeling” or “Hockeystick” curve describing the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. About an estimated 15% of the passengers accepted the climate stickers with occasional positive feedback (“Oh, this is actually really good!”). I also met two persons who mentioned that they were working in alternative energy sources or meteorology. However, it was slightly depressing to see scores of  tourists with their skiing equipment returning from their holidays.

After two hours the security noticed that I was distributing information without permission and two members of the airport security told me to stop distributing the information. On my way to the next bookshop, however, I some more stickers fell out of my hand and I also asked the bookshop assistant whether it would be ok to deposit some of the protest stickers at their bookshop, which she was willing to discuss with her manager. She pointed out that they actually also offered some books about the climate crisis and mentioned that their book sales were declining because of decreasing passenger numbers.

Unfortunately, the security guards had followed me and did not like my conversation with the bookshop owner. After a short conversation whether security should have a say about what sort of information the bookshop should be offering to their customers, the security guards took my id and accompanied me to the next bus stop to make sure I was leaving the airport premises. Kudos to the security guards, who acted very professional and appropriately friendly (though slightly annoyed after I was disobedient after our first conversation).

All in all, I am very happy with this outcome, although I might have pushed it just a little bit too far. I think that protest stickers work great in this type of setting, where you don’t want to cause to much attention.

Note: I have now applied for a permission at the police to protest at Arlanda on 2019-04-02, and I am still waiting for their reply. If this does not work, I am considering just wearing some “climate breakdown” or “Flying damages the climate”  (or so) T- shirts visibly and walk around in the terminals to get the message across. I assume such an action maybe quite under the radar of the security (but not of the passengers :-).


[1] Correction: I first wrote that I distributed about 180 stickers, which I calculated on the basis on the remaining stickers in my backpack. Unfortunately, I later discovered another batch of 60 stickers which had gotten lost in my backpack, which makes the number of distributed stickers about 120.