The British government recently gave the green light for Heathrow airport’s third runway. It was heralded by its supporters as a vital boost for jobs and growth – and proof that the UK was “open for business”. The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, referred to the decision as “truly momentous” while for the prime minister, Theresa May, the planned expansion is “vital for the economic future of the whole of the UK”.
The decision has already been vociferously opposed by environmental campaigners. Simply stated, flying is a significant source of air pollution, and a carbon-intensive means of moving people around, despite technological developments and modifications. Airport expansions puts, as Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas describes it, “a wrecking ball through the UK’s climate change commitments”.
The decision to approve airport expansion is indeed “truly momentous” – because it shows just how far governments, but also trade unions, businesses and many individuals, are willing to go in denying that climate change and related ecological crises require us to significantly change the way we live. In fact, as a policy move, it arguably epitomises the phenomena of “hypernormalisation”, as described in Adam Curtis’s new documentary of the same name.
This is an excerpt from an article originally published on The Conversation. To read the full story, visit #Hypernormalisation – and why Heathrow plan is proof we exist in a catastrophic fantasyland.