One Climate Activist 'Glued' Himself to Jet, Another Sparks 2-Hour Delay of Flight


So, picture yourself as a serious climate activist. You have a certain degree of fame and you’re looking to cash those chips in for the environment. What’s your strategy to generate some attention for Mother Earth?

Give Irish Paralympic medalist James Brown credit. I don’t care how far you took this thought exercise, but you could brainstorm all day and the thought, “Hey, why don’t I get on top of a British Airways jet?” probably didn’t come to mind.

This makes the visually impaired cyclist either a next-level genius or legally insane. I’m not quite sure there’s a difference at that point.

As CBS News reported, Brown is currently an activist with Extinction Rebellion, the climate change activism group that’s known for splashy demonstrations and had racked up 1,300 arrests in the United Kingdom alone last week, according to The (U.K.) Guardian.

CBS mentioned Brown’s 2012 Paralympics bronze medal. His two-and-a-half-year ban for evading a doping test four years later didn’t come up, for whatever reason.

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Either way, Brown had a modicum of visibility from finishing third at the London games seven years ago. So, this is how he thought he could best use this to help out the environment:

“Oh man, I’m shaking … This is all about the climate and ecological crisis,” Brown said during a Facebook Live stream from the top of the jet at London City Airport on Thursday.

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The Daily Express reported he had glued himself to the top of the plane, although this wasn’t confirmed by police.

He was slightly more eloquent when he was interviewed on the ground: “They declare climate emergency and do nothing about it,” Brown said.

London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick was not amused by the act.

“My early understanding is somebody has been arrested after they presumably bought a ticket, went through security perfectly normally, went up the steps of a plane and hurled themselves on top of a plane,” she said, according to the BBC.

“Actually, that was a reckless, stupid and dangerous thing to do for all concerned.”

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Check out The Guardian report here.

Brown wasn’t the only one from Extinction Rebellion who disrupted flights at London City Airport, either. The centrally located airport, mostly used by business travelers, has been the site of what Extinction Rebellion activists call a “Hong Kong style” demonstration designed to shut the place down.

Other protesters glued themselves to fixtures inside the airport, BBC reported.

Another protester caused a two-hour delay on an Aer Lingus flight when he refused to take his seat.

“BBC Newsnight’s Nicholas Watt was on a Dublin-bound flight when a ‘smartly dressed man’ stood up and walked down the aisle, delivering a lecture on climate change,” the British state broadcaster reported

“Cabin crew ‘calmly and very politely’ asked the protester to retake his seat and, when he declined, they alerted the pilot, Watt said in a tweet.”

After the plane had taxied back to the gate, the man was taken off.

Overall, approximately 50 activists were arrested at the airport on Thursday, 29 of whom had been charged.

So, what did this do for the environment? Well, it apparently delayed at least two flights … but didn’t actually stop anyone from traveling by air. Those 50 people arrested had to be transported to the police station, and one assumes they weren’t brought there on the back of bike. Delayed planes likely had to idle their engines.

All in all, this was a waste of a little bit of fuel, time — and glue.

But at least it made activists feel better about themselves:

“When the IPCC report came out a year ago now, I think I cried everyday, never stopped crying for three months,” a City Airport protester identified as “Caroline,”  told CBS, referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The United Nations agency released a report in 2018 that predicted disastrous consequences from climate change.

“Action was the only way I can be at peace with myself and look at my children and feel like I’m doing everything I can to give you a future,”

She was removed by police after blocking a door at the airport, so at least she’ll be able to tell her kids she made a difference by making some airline passenger a few minutes late.

To the radical environmentalist fringe, this is normal. So is allegedly gluing yourself to the top of a plane. (Or getting on top of it and not gluing yourself to it; either way.) So is refusing to take your seat because a two-hour delay on an Aer Lingus will stop carbon emissions. All of this is totally rational behavior. And all of this is going to make us buy what they’re selling.

In a world where Greta Thunberg is considered an expert on carbon emissions, apparently all of this makes sense.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture