Monday 30 November 2015

peoples climate movement

This past weekend, in cities all around the globe, hundreds of thousands of people marched for climate action ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Paris.

Looking across the crowd to the stage in the Domain
photo: Stephen Blake

I participated in the People's Climate March in Sydney yesterday - me and 60,000 of my dearest Sydney friends!

Me and Ty on the right, with our friends James (left) and Yatu (to my left)
and Yatu's parents, who have been taking Yatu to marches since she was a
wee little thing. They once dressed her in a shirt that read
"I want to grow up, not blow up"to protest nuclear energy. It was
amazing to be with such dedicated and experienced protestors!

Compared to the first climate march that I attended in Sydney (which I wrote about in my book, it must have been in 2008 or 2009), yesterday's march was of epic proportions, at least 10 times the size, and representing a much wider diversity of people from all corners of Sydney (and potentially farther afield).

Many Indigenous cultures were represented at the rally, and those wearing red
were representing people already on the frontlines of climate change.
photo: Stephen Blake

Photo: Stephen Blake

The rally began in the Domain and included a number of speeches and performances, including 1 Million Women's new song, "I am the Voice"*, and the always-inspirational Tim Flannery.

We all participated in a minute of silence in honour of those already facing
the impact of climate change, and then march officially began following
the playing of didgeridoo.   Photo: Stephen Blake

As the temperatures creeped higher - and the predicted thunderstorms failed to appear - the march began underneath Sydney sunshine and we benefited from the delicious breeze coming up from Sydney Harbour. Organised by colour - dress for your climate change passion - there was no shortage of music, dancing, chanting, signs and costumes, and there was an overall sense of community amongst our fellow Sydneysiders.

Photo: Stephen Blake
Photo: Stephen Blake
Clover Moore spoke at the start of the rally
Photo: Stephen Blake

Any excuse to wear an animal onesie, right?
Photo: Stephen Blake

Many people participating were protesting other social justice causes, too.
Photo: Stephen Blake

These beautiful girls represented 'Our common home', sporting green
in honour of all the species on planet Earth.
Photo: Stephen Blake

And speaking for myself, I felt enormous gratitude about living in a country that allows peaceful protests like this one, pride in my fellow citizens who turned out in huge numbers, and increased optimism about the future.

Photo: Stephen Blake

I love this not-so-subtle use of parental guilt.
Photo: Stephen Blake

'Stop polluting' - couldn't have said it better myself.
Photo: Stephen Blake

There's still so much work to do, and I hope that the world's political leaders make meaningful and impactful agreements over the next two weeks in Paris. But whatever happens at the Climate Summt, the People of the world have spoken. An increasing number of us are determined to shift towards a future based on clean energy, a fairer economic system and a healthier environment for all the planet's inhabitants. As the rally cry from yesterday's march exclaimed:  

from here on in, we're all in

It's not just for hippies anymore!
Photo: Stephen Blake

But what would a climate rally be without them?
Photo: Stephen Blake

Were you at a People's Climate event this weekend? I'd love to hear about it!

* * * *

A special THANK YOU to Stephen Blake for letting me use his amazing photographs in today's blog post - I only had my phone and was too busy chanting to take photos. He captured the atmosphere perfectly.

*A cleaver re-write of the Australian John Farnham classic "You're the Voice"