A word from the treetops

22 February 2012

By Laura Grainger

My name's Laura and I'm currently living in a treehouse I built, 17m high in a pine tree. Along with a small group of other wonderfully passionate people, we are occupying the forest which is the site of a future airport near Notre-Dame-des-Landes, France. We are building a campaign to stop the Grand Ouest airport– along with its highway, TGV train line and metropolis expansion. It's being greenwashed as an 'ecological' project, and like so many massive constructions, it's being undemocratically bulldozed into people's lives. Vinci, the world's biggest construction company has been handed the project on a ready-prepared platter. But there's more than a hundred organisations banded together now to say no to the unnecessary and destructive expansion of the concrete jungle, and for two years now there's been an occupation of the site of the airport.

Both the proponents and opponents of the project call this place "La ZAD". It's been continuously growing and now there's over a hundred occupying more than 20 spots on the site at all times. So I find myself in a forest - a beautiful forest - constructing defences against any eviction, growing vegetables in a field, having meetings and organising demonstrations, occupations, awareness-raising propaganda for this fight and others around the continent, such as the Khimki struggle in Russia. These projects are just too crazy to happen in a world with climate change, peak oil and social injustice happening left, right and centre.

We are growing a lot of our own food here, we dumpster-dive a lot of our food too, cycling and walking are our main ways of getting around, we recycle building materials for our own constructions, there are skill-shares happening daily, workshops and freeshops and anything that someone has energy for is created... in fact, a whole little post-capitalist anarchist community has sprung up! Links with the other campaigning groups have never been so strong, and even though eviction is likely within the next month, I'd still say it's going well!

I've increasingly become a full-time campaigner, activist, dreamer, whatever you call it, since I first got involved with YFoEE. It's partly thanks to the energy of the group I was a part of in Germany in June 2009 really switched on my radical-button. Increasingly I've become aware and experienced in the way that we can put all our energy into changing things to the way we really want them to be. Even if I'm 5000km away from you, I want to wish you good luck with your local campaigns! I'm in solidarity with the issues you work on - it's all interlinking. And of course, you're very welcome to come and visit us here at la ZAD, do a local action or to join our struggle here.