Bettina Trabant reports from the Time to Act on Climate Change demonstration on Saturday.
Over 20 000 climate activist gathered in London on Saturday to tell the government it was time to act on climate change.
On a sunny March day people from all walks of life marched from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Millbank singing and chanting: ‘Say hey, say ho, Fossil fuels have got to go’ and ‘Whose Planet? – Our planet!’
Grandparents Climate Action, Greenpeace activists and random people dressed as polar bears were among some of those that contributed to yesterday’s diverse and lively national demo.
The march was initiated by the Campaign Against Climate Change, an organisation that brings together people seeking to push for urgent and resolute action to on climate change. Activists from Friends of the Earth, BP or not BP, divestment campaigns, trade unions and socialist groups were instrumental in making the march happen. Fashion designer Vivien Westwood provided the artwork for the demo’s promotional material that was distributed around London in the weeks leading up to the demo.
The day of the march began with an ecumenical church service, a meditation session and stalls from leftwing and environmental groups selling pamphlets, newspapers and giving out leaflets on a host of environmental issues. The day ended with a range of speeches by green MP Caroline Lucas, head of Greenpeace UK John Sauven, and video links from comedian Russell Brand and writer Naomi Klein.
Although the demo was smaller than the previous climate march last September, organisers see the event not as an end in itself, but as a first step towards more action leading up to the COP21 in Paris.
COP21 will be the next big gathering of world leaders in Paris this December to try and cobble together a deal to reduce CO2 emissions and thus avert climate change.
Judging from past gatherings in Copenhagen, Rio and elsewhere politicians will fail to come to a binding agreement that reduces CO2 emissions by 80%. The vast majority of scientists agree that 80% is the reduction need to avoid the earth temperature rising above 2C and thus avert catastrophic climate change. Activist from around the world will therefore be descending onto Paris this autumn to tell those in power that it’s time to act. Those not able to get to Paris will take part in action around the country.
Prior to climate action in Paris, activists will pressure the political parties before this years’ general election, and raise the profile of climate change. There will be local action and the Climate Coalition lobby of Parliament in June.
The number of people realising that climate change is a real and serious issue is growing daily as some of the changes to our climate predicted decades ago are beginning to happen. The politicians in power are still unwilling to acting. Despite ConDem promises to be the greenest government ever. It is therefore vital that we follow on from yesterdays inspiring demo and continue the action by taking part in the events outlined above and help built an alternative to a world dominated by capitalism and fossil fuels.