This poster, designed by Aneesa Khan ’17 for Wretched of the Earth, a collective of grassroots, indigenous black and brown organizations who fight for justice and system change, has been put up for display at bus stops around London.This poster, designed by Aneesa Khan ’17 for Wretched of the Earth, a collective of grassroots, indigenous black and brown organizations who fight for justice and system change, has been put up for display at bus stops around London.Since 2012, the anti-advertising art group Brandalism has been taking over advertising spaces in over ten cities in the UK. The group was also active in Paris during the climate negotiations of December, 2015. Brandalism is “a revolt against corporate control of the visual realm,” where amazing artistic activists reclaim outdoor messaging spaces and narratives. 

Over the weekend of February 20-21, around sixty Brandalism-style posters popped up around London criticizing airport expansion and advertising the then upcoming solidarity demonstration for the Heathrow 13, a group of thirteen climate activists who were having legal action taken against them for occupying the runway of Heathrow Airport in July, 2015. Their occupation came in protest against social and environmental impacts caused by the construction of new runways. Some posters made connections between climate change and refugees, while others called attention to the concept of carbon colonialism, and the identity of the installers remains a mystery. 

Poster designed by Aneesa Khan ’17 for Wretched of the Earth on display at a bus stop in London.Poster designed by Aneesa Khan ’17 for Wretched of the Earth on display at a bus stop in London.

I designed the poster above for a group called Wretched of the Earth: a collective of grassroots, indigenous black and brown organizations representing diaspora from the Global South in London, who fight for justice and system change. It focuses on carbon colonialism, and argues that history is repeating itself in the form of this new runway at Heathrow. The rich and developed nations around the world have historically polluted much more than their fair share of our atmosphere and, unfortunately, vulnerable people and developing nations who have done the least to cause climate change are the ones on the front lines, getting hit the hardest. This is an injustice of Herculean levels that needs to Aneesa Khan ’17Aneesa Khan ’17be addressed by rapid and urgent cuts in our emissions—building a new runway anywhere is a blatant violation of that need for action. The Heathrow 13 took measures to bring attention to the false need for a new runway and ended up having a case brought against them for speaking truth to power. 

On February 24, the judge sentenced Heathrow 13 to six weeks of prison suspended for 12 months, 120-180 hours community service, and £500-£1000 in fines.

Another world is possible, but for it to become a reality, we must show solidarity with those on the front lines and make the connections between different fights for justice, be it for the climate, refugees, gender, race, or jobs.