Heathrow Airport, outside of London, is the world's busiest international airport and the government wants to make it even bigger--by adding a third runway and sixth terminal. Opposition to the runway has been building, with a demo that closed down Stansted Airport last week and plans for actions at Heathrow over the holidays. The government will be making its decision early in the new year.
Opposition has been led by a group called Plane Stupid, which organises clever and high profile campaigns against the expansion. But who funds Plane Stupid? The answer is the founder of Lush organic cosmetics, Mark Constantine, who has 600 shops around the world, including some in airports.
In a recent interview, Mark Constantine said that he has donated more than £15,000( $24,500) to the cause and intends to continue. As he says: "I'm looking for someone of stature to show leadership in this country. Until we get that, I'll be championing the likes of Plane Stupid, even if it means supporting actions that are illegal." And: "We know that a third runway at Heathrow will lead to vastly increased carbon emissions and there has to come a point - which I believe is right now - where we put the next generation first and say enough is enough."
Some have accused him of being a hypocrite because of the publicity that this has brought to Lush. But Constantine has been a committed environmentalist for many years, starting out with Anita Roddick to develop the Body Shop concept but later falling out with her. He says "I'm not exactly a newcomer to fighting climate change: I don't hold a driver's licence, I ride a bicycle, and I've been an active member of Friends of the Earth since I was 21, decades before it was sexy to be green." Evening Standard
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