2005 events

National Climate Demo

 

This was a huge success! Thanks to everyone who took part and helped make it happen.

December 3rd 2005 was the Saturday midway through the "MOP" (First "Meeting of Parties" to the Kyoto Protocol) Climate Talks in Montreal, 28th November-9th December. The London Demo was part of the International Day of Climate Protest with climate demos all around the world from Montreal to Japan. For photos click here.

ImageWe helped to create a global wave of protest to press for the urgent action we need to prevent the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate!

10,000 is the figure given by the 'Independent on Sunday' for the number of marchers on what was a groundbreaking event for climate campaigning in the UK.

The day started with 60 or so cyclists setting off from the Thames Barrier, pennants flying, but this number soon swelled to 200 or so. Meanwhile Britain's biggest ever climate demo - by a long chalk - was massing in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The long snake of protestors finally set off past an impromptu anti-ExxonMobil protest by several tiger-suited demonstrators lurking in the dooorway of the Esso London offices - and then the Australian embassy (John Howard's government is partner-in-crime to the US in not ratifying Kyoto), onto the embankment. The marchers braved a brief torrential downpour as they proceeded up Whitehall and a letter was handed in to Number 10, by Honorary CCC President George Monbiot and others - including 10 and 4 year old Ross and Ursula Moncrieff (on behalf of future generations).

The march (quite a long one!) terminated at Grosvenor Square in front of the US embassy where demonstrators were greeted with protest songs from David Rovics. Next National coordinator Phil Thornhill said a few words, harking back to his protest of 'one' five years ago, and then Michael Meacher MP kicked off the speeches, telling Tony Blair not to 'kow tow to Bush' on climate. The impressive list of speakers included Caroline Lucas, Green MEP, Benedict Southworth, Director of the World Development Movement, Elaine Graham-Leigh from RESPECT, Fazlun Khalid, Director of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and the Environmental Sciences, Ruth Jarman for Christian Ecology Link (who held a child in one hand and a polar bear in the other!), Norman Baker MP (Environment shadow for the Lib Dems), a speaker from 'Rising Tide', Nick Rau from Friends of the Earth, Jonathan Neale on behalf of Globalise Resistance, Peter Bunyard, Scientific editor from the Ecologist (just back from the Amazon) and finally CCC honorary president George Monbiot - who declared that we actually need 90% cuts in global emissions by 2030.

Meanwhile around 400 protestors took to the streets in Edinburgh. See more, here.

And demonstrations calling for urgent action on climate change were taking off, all round the world! Before the cyclists had even set off from the Thames Barrier we heard the news that 3,500 had demonstrated in Sydney with around 10,000 all round Australia. Later there were 2,000 in Istanbul and 1,000 each in two other Turkish ciites. Finally in the 'centre-piece' protest in Montreal a reported 35,000 protestors converged on the Climate Talks conference centre. We've heard, too, of 500 in Helsinki (700 all round Finland), 400 in Mexico city, 200 at 2 separate locations in Greece, maybe 200 in Bulgaria, 100 in Romania, 200 in Seoul, 120 in Ekaterinburg in Russia, 75 in Zagreb Croatia ...small numbers, maybe, but many of these are places seeing their first ever demonstration on climate change ......and we've had pictures, too, of the march in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a country gravely threatened by climate change, see more here.

For the Edinburgh demo see here and here.

For pictures from the international demonstrations on the same day see here.

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Kyoto Climate March

Image
Photo copyright Andrew Or

Image
Photo Andrew Fuller

The Kyoto Climate March was in the news well before it started, billed as part of a wave of international demonstrations around the world (see here) - something which we had been working to create. So we had already succeeded in our goal of amplifying the significance of the coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol (happening the following Wednesday 16th February) and emphasising the isolation of the US - as almost the only country not prepared to do its bit to avert a global catastrophe - even before the demo had started.

The demo kicked off with a band of cyclists, 30 or 40 strong, gathering at the Thames Barrier, symbolic of the threat from climate change to London, itself. The Barrier is being used more and more often as every year passes and may have to be rebuilt bigger in 20 or 30 years. Cyclists posed for photos and fixed flags to their bikes before setting off along the Thames, flags streaming in a colourful array, towards Lincoln's Inn Fields where the march proper was soon to start.

In Lincoln's Inn Fields a small industry was underway, as people assembled for the march, fixing flags to bamboo poles and handing them around. In the end we had all 141 of our national flags, representing all the current signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, which we were going to take to the US embassy to emphasise their isolation on this crucial issue for the world.

Finally, with all 141 flags waiving, and the samba band striking up, we set off. Out in front was our globe-in-a-greenhouse, the 'Statue of taking Liberties' and 'Uncle-Sam-the-Grim-Reaper' waving a flag with a burning globe. Behind, there streamed a great long colurful throng, livened up by the samba band, the famous Rinky Dink bicycle sound machine, and Tony and Jenny's 'Soapbox' bicycle sound machine, too. There was a brief pause at the ExxonMobil offices as Lucy Wills seized the meagaphone to give them a torrent of well deserved abuse, for their role in backing the Bush regime and waging a cynical war of disinformation on climate change. Next was the turn of the Australian embassy: Australia is the only major developed country not to have ratified Kyoto apart from the US. Here 'John Howard' put in a brief appearance along with an 'Ozzy Reaper of Doom', as the flag-holders clustered in front of the embassy doors for photos. In fact our demo made quite an impact on the Ozzy media: we evidently struck quite a sensitive nerve!

Soon we were off again, streaming down the Strand and into Trafalgar square, while dazed shoppers and tourists looked on: in fact many responded favourably to leaflets, while some actually joined the march. The colourful, noisy, long snake of protesters then wound it way into Piccadily Circus and on into Mayfair. with chanting of
"You can put your head in the sand,
Or join the march and make a stand" and the like.

Finally reaching the US embassy, there was an attempt to get all the flags together for photos and then the usual confusion as conflicting instructions were received about where to assemble for speeches. At last something was sorted out and Phil Thornhill, Campaign Coordinator, had the microphone off the Rinky Dink, to expound on the irresponsible iniquity of the US at this moment of unprecedented global crisis. Next came Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP, speaking with her usual cogency, followed by Norman Baker MP, Lib-Dem shadow environment Minister, highlighting the danger of Tony Blair coming away with a useless 'paper' agreement from Bush on climate. Inbetween Phil Thornhill pointed to our next big opportunity to get a big mobilisation on climate (apart from the G8), namely the 'MOP' climate talks this November/December, which he asked everyone to get focussed on, well in advance. Then it was the turn of Tony Juniper, Director of Friends of the Earth, followed by Muzammal Hussain from the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences. At that point the heavens tipped down and things rapidly broke up but we were lucky it had waited untill all essential business had been successfully concluded. Some of us continued the festivities in the Barley Mow pub, nearby, where we were entertained by the 'Eco-Worriers'.

Altogether it had been a terrific and spectacular demo, which succeeded in its aim of amplifying the significance of the coming into force of the Protocol and highlighting the irresponsible and immoral obduracy of the US in doing nothing to prevent a global catatstrophe that it has played (and continues to play) such a large role in creating. Many people felt they had at last had an opportunity to effectively express their concern over the the huge threat to our Future posed by the destabilisation of global climate - and while there is always some dissapointment that numbers on the march do not remotely match up to the seriousness of the issue, nevertheless we have laid a firm basis for bigger things to come! Roll on December!

Image
Photo Andrew Fuller

Image
Photo Andrew Fuller

Image
Photo copyright Andrew Or

Image
Photo copyright Andrew Or

Image
Photo Andrew Fuller

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Climate Crisis public meetings

In the run up to the Kyoto Climate March we will be holding a number of Public Meetings on the 'Climate Crisis' (scale & nature of the Climate threat, politics of Climate change, how to fight the Bush administration on climate, building a movement to press for urgent action) around the country. Details of the meetings (available so far) are as follows:

Birmingham - meeting rescheduled for Thurdsay, February 3rd, see below.

Cardiff Tuesday, 25th January, 7.00 pm, at the Catholic Chaplaincy, University of Cardiff, 62 Park place, Cardiff CF10 3AS. Speakers include Tim-Helweg Larsen, lately of the Global Commons Institute with a presentation as given to the United nations at the COP Climate conference in Buenos Aires in December; Neil Crumpton from Friends of the Earth Cymru; Helen-Mary Jones, Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly spokesperson for the environment; and Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change. Contact 07811 835 345 or 07903316331.

Oxford Wednesday 26th January, 7.30pm. at The Vaults and Garden cafe at St Mary's Church, High Street, Oxford (entrance via Radcliffe Square).
Talks and climate change slideshow by Mark Lynas and George Marshall; with Jo Hamilton, 'No New Oil' campaigner, Oxford councillor Craig Simmons (Green Party) and Anna Hoyles from Globalise Resistance; chaired by Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change. Organic, fair-trade bar available for snacks and drinks including beer and wine.

Liverpool meeting resurrected - see below.

Brighton Thursday, January 27th 2005, 18.00-20.00 pm, at the Chichester Lecture Theatre, University of Sussex
A Meeting on 'Global Climate Change' with Mark Lynas, author of 'High Tide: News from a Warming World', Dr. Mayer Hillman, author of 'How We Can Save the Planet', Keith Taylor, Brighton & Hove Green Party Parliamentary candidate and Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change.

Manchester Thursday, January 27th, 7.00 pm at Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester M2 1NL
Speakers include Chris Davies MEP (Lib Dem), Steven Durrant, Green Party ppc for Manchester Central, Dave Coleman from Manchester Friends of the Earth and Graham Thompson from Campaign against Climate Change.

Bristol Monday, January 31st, 7.30 pm at the Central Quaker Meeting House, River street, Bristol 2.
Speakers include Mike Birkin from South West Friends of the Earth, Charlie Bolton from Bristol Green Party, Ann Lemon from Globalise Resistance and Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change.

Norwich Tuesday 1st February, 7.30 pm at the Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane (off St Giles Street- directly down the hill from the side of City Hall). Map here . Speakers include Tim-Helweg Larsen, lately of the Global Commons Institute with a presentation as given to the United nations at the COP Climate conference in Buenos Aires in December; Norwich councillor Adrian Ramsey (Green Party), Marie Bunting from Globalise Resistance and Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change.

Southampton Wednesday 2nd February. 7.00 pm at Southampton University on Highfield Campus in the Nuffield Building Lecture Theatre A. Speakers include Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change, Dave Hubble, local Greenpeace Co-ordinator and Anna Hoyles from Globalise Resistance; chaired by Southampton Friends of the Earth.

London Thursday, 3rd February, 7.00 pm at the Edward Lewis Lecture Theatre, University College London, on the corner of Howland Street and Cleveland street - under the Post Office Tower [PLEASE NOTE NOT GOWER STREET AS LISTED EARLIER & ON SOME LEAFLETS], London.
Speakers: George Monbiot , Jean Lambert MEP (Green party) and Tony Juniper, Director, Friends of the Earth, with Jonathan Neale from Globalise Resistance, Harfiyah Haleem from the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences and Phil Thornhill from the Campaign against Climate Change.

Birmingham Thursday February 3rd, 7.30 pm at Carrs Lane Church Centre, Top Foyer. Contact Birmingham Friends of the Earth, 0121 632 6909.
Speakers: Clare Short MP , Fazlun Khalid, Director of IFEES ('Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences', Barney Smith from Birmingham Green Party, a speaker from Birmingham Friends of the Earth and Graham Thompson from Campaign against Climate Change; chaired by Chris Crean, co-ordinator West Midlands Friends of the Earth.

Liverpool Friday February 4th. 6.00 pm in the 'Heart and Soul' Restaurant/Bar, 62 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool 3. Contact Clara Paillard 07910 097 607, clarouf[at]yahoo.fr A speaker from Globalise Resistance, Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change and Frank Kennedy, North West Co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth .

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