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One-Man Sabotage Operation Cuts Britain’s CO2 Output By 2 Percent

About two weeks ago a single activist breached the security of one of the most heavily guarded power plants in Britain, climbed two 10-foot electrified razor wire fences, and shut down a 500 MW turbine–enough to power …

This is the most amazing story I’ve read in months and I hadn’t heard boo about it in the mainstream US press.

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About two weeks ago a single activist breached the security of one of the most heavily guarded power plants in Britain, climbed two 10-foot electrified razor wire fences, and shut down a 500 MW turbine–enough to power an entire city. He left a calling card reading “no new coal” and left the same way he came. The UK papers say that for the four hours the plant was shut down, Britain’s climate change emissions were decreased by about 2 percent. They’re calling the unknown activist the “green Banksy” after the renowned, anonymous (until recently) street artist, which is a hint to the media’s barely concealed admiration for this enviro-saboteur.

What’s even more remarkable than the astonishing success and daring of his feat is that there’s recent British precedence for a legal defense of it. In September a British jury found that the clear and lethal threat of global warming is urgent enough to  justify the vandalism of six Greenpeace activists who caused $50,000 worth of damage to another coal plant. Under the “lawful excuse” doctrine the jurors decided that the activists, who painted the prime minister’s name on the plant’s chimney, acted to save lives, analogous to breaking down the door of a house in order to put out a fire. The world’s leading climate change scientist, James Hansen, actually flew in from America to testify as an expert witness on behalf of Greenpeace.

Al Gore has also gone on record as calling for “civil disobedience” by young people to stop new coal plants from being built.

I don’t know whether to be amazed by the power of individual direct action to stop global warming, or dismayed at the idea that Nobel Prize winners are leaving it up to individuals to do what international governments seem unwilling to agree on.

Photo: The Guardian

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About the author

Anya Kamenetz is the author of Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, (Chelsea Green, 2010). Her 2011 ebook The Edupunks’ Guide was funded by the Gates Foundation.

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