Sunday, 28 September 2014

People's Climate March

On Sept 21st an estimated 600,000 people across the world marched and demonstrated to demand action on climate change. The march in New York was the largest - 400,000 people (!!!) Hats off to Avaaz and for this immense organisational achievement. If anybody previously had doubted that the public weren't concerned about climate change (and if anyone in power felt they could continue to get away with smothering initiatives to tackle it) they can just look at the pictures here.

The Peoples Climate March in London
In London 40,000 people marched against climate change. As one of the marchers, I felt moved by how unifying the movement to tackle climate change is proving to be, and how unlikely friendships were formed. Climate change has previously had a reputation for causing massive fear, rift and division - as you'd expect from a issue which demands fast, bold state intervention and international negotiation. Were no evidence of this fear required, consider the billions poured by big business into misinformation campaigns, such as those emanating from the Heartland Institute. Corporate lobbyists have been furiously getting to work on what they (rightly) perceive to be a threat to short-term profits: killing legislation that would limit carbon emissions. The mainstream media have been equally quick to promote misinformation, giving disproportionate airtime to climate sceptics.

In London, New York, Rio, Melbourne and around the world, myriad different groups of people held hands to face a common threat. Senior figures from IKEA and Unilever, the actors Leonardo di Caprio and Emma Thompson, Ban Ki-Moon, citizens from Aleppo in Syria, indigenous peoples, people or all faiths and none, all were prepared to lay differences aside and join together in peaceful demonstration.
The Green Heart was a unifying symbol -
fighting climate change is about one's love
for the world, not fear or hatred.

The London Climate March was preceded by a demonstration organised by the Quakers, DANCE and BP or not BP?. A normal day at the British Museum morphed into a theatrical protest, with protesters dressed as oil-covered pelicans and turtles, followed by an 11-minute meditation for the 11 workers who died in the Deepwater Horizon spill (see here for a video of the action).

There was also a multi-faith vigil organised by Our Voices in the Gardens by Temple Tube station. Buddhists, Muslims, Bahai, Jews, Christians, Hindus and humanists all ate lunch together and listened to a prayer written by Desmond Tutu specially for the occasion.

Buddhists Oscar and Manjurava at the Multi-faith vigil

After quite a lot of hanging around, the march finally kicked off, with imaginative placards a-plenty...

I'd like to end with an apology - it seems people have been finding the Transition blog a little arts/spirituality heavy... All those who are into things a little more hands-on - please do get in touch if you want to write a blog post or have us promote your events. We're here for you!

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