Bears Not Bombs - and other stories
|London Climate Change March|
|Ready for the Demo|
The atmosphere was like a carnival and, with more than fifty thousand people swarming into the park, it felt electric. There were polar bear processions
And even people dressed as Polar Bears.
A few zebras put in an appearance too. Anything was possible.
I was lucky enough to be close to the old Fire Brigade Union engine they were using as a platform and able to listen to the speakers. Vivienne Westwood was electrifying (and terrifying!) accusing politicians of being criminals. A Bangladeshi woman talked about the increasing salination of the land in her home country and how people are finding it hard to grow food. Flooding is more frequent and in areas where communication is a problem the women have set up a network to warn each other so that their homes can be evacuated as the water rises. The President of the Royal College of Nurses talked about the strain that climate change will put on the health service. But the star of the show was Jeremy Corbyn who in real life is a wonderful speaker and talks a lot of sense in a very authoritative way. Climate Change, both now and in the future, is the greatest threat to international security and human well-being.
|Corbyn and Westwood|
The diversity of the crowd was amazing. There were representatives of local councils from all over Britain, trade unions, the Royal College of Nursing, a lot of doctors, as well as environmental groups such as Save the Trees, Woodland Trust, Friends of the Earth, Avaaz, 38 Degrees, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Druids, Ban Bombs, Ban Fracking, MPs of every political persuasion, but, tellingly, NOT A SINGLE CONSERVATIVE. You might have expected that someone from the department of the environment might have come along to explain their intentions in Paris? Especially as they claim on their website . . . "We are the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world . . . Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink." Their absence doesn't bode well for Paris.
It took me hours and hours to get home because the storms had blown trees across the railway tracks and brought down power lines. Virgin Trains finally sent me to my destination with a small group of other travellers in a mini-bus. It was a fantastic day, and there was also the feeling that one was doing something - even if only being one small voice in a huge crowd - but also the comfort of feeling part of a movement. As Caroline Lucas said in her speech, 'To change everything, you need everyone'.