The greenhouse effect
Cut the carbon now
Greenhouse effect again
My mate climate
The earth is sad, climate change is bad
Placard produced by the Independent
All cars car-rupt
Car free is carefree
Melt the ice cap on your head
Cost of guarding nuclear waste
Live a low energy lifestyle
Tax air miles not biofuels
Assembling at Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Rising tide banner
Tigers block the Exxon office
Tail-end of the march
There was a giant globe enclosed in a greenhouse on wheels, representing the greenhouse effect caused by the release of gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane, which traps the sun’s heat, causing the temperature of the planet to rise. Along with a lady dressed up as the “statue of taking liberties”, this led the march.
The multicoloured cycle-powered mobile PA system known as the Rinky Dink was present, as were the Brixton Tea Party, serving onion and barley soup.
The green party and the campaign against climate change were out in force, judging by the placards, with the SWP and Respect having a smaller but still significant presence. One surprise was that the Independent newspaper had produced their own placards, however as one protester pointed out, they were mounted on seriously heavy-duty sticks, making them too heavy to carry comfortably.
Although nuclear power has been suggested as an alternative to fossil fuels, nobody on this march seemed to think so, and there were a number of placards pointing out the folly of nuclear power. Personally, I don’t think nuclear power is the solution, because it is finite, just like fossil fuels, and an awful lot of energy is used (and therefore carbon dioxide produced) by mining it, purifying it, enriching it and transporting the various precursors and waste products around. And then there are the waste products. General radioactive waste which needs to be isolated from the environment for thousands of years, depleted uranium from the enrichment process which is used to bombard Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, and plutonium from the nuclear fission reaction which goes into nuclear bombs.
The ringing of many bells heralded the arrival of cycle-mounted protesters, presumably from the cycle demo which took place earlier in the day. Many of the bikes were decorated with anti-car slogans.
A samba band arrived and provided entertainment in the park before the march set off.
A detachment of Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clowns arrived and put across the importance of climate change in their own unique way, however this was somewhat marred by a march steward shouting over them for everyone to join the main body of the march.
The march set off, and visited the Australian embassy (non-signatory to the Kyoto treaty) and the offices of Exxon Mobil (spend a lot of money telling governments that climate change is a myth) on the way to a rally outside the US embassy (world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, amongst other crimes).
Along the way, a variety of chants were heard, including:
People and planet before big business and profit.
A – anti – anticapitalista. Bring down the system revolution socialista.
The ice caps are melting, Bush needs a belting. The temperature’s a-rising, Blair needs a hiding.
Bush and Blair we know you, Iraq and now the planet too.
Bush and Blair you must go, and your precious Texaco.
George Bush, eco-terrorist. Tony Blair, eco-terrorist.
Esso Exxon BP Shell, take your oil and go to hell.
Whose streets? Our streets! Whose world? Our world!
Tell me what democracy looks like / This is what democracy looks like.
Who melts the ice caps? Bush Bush and Blair.
The biggest threat we’ve ever faced will not be fixed by nuclear waste.
What do we want? Climate Justice? When do we want it? Now!
Don’t just sit there burning oil, save the world in Montreal.
As the march passed the houses of parliament, a group of between twenty and fifty people decided to sit down in the road, effectively blocking it, whilst continuing to chant. This quickly attracted the attention of a similar number of people with cameras, and a few police officers. As this was within the designated area within which unauthorised protests are classed as a Serious Organised Crime, I was expecting some arrests to occur. However, the police merely tried to have words in the ears of some of the sitters, who mostly ignored them, and no arrests were made as far as I could see. After five or ten minutes, possible influenced by a sudden downpour, the sit-down protestors stood up again and moved off of their own accord. “Climate change protest disrupted by weather”, quipped an onlooker from the shelter of an office doorway.
A small group of enterprising protesters had estimated the amount of carbon dioxide produced by various activities, and labelled purple balloons accordingly. Their point was that if carbon dioxide was purple, we’d notice the air changing colour, but because it’s colourless and odourless we don’t notice it.
As the marchers arrived outside the US embassy, a singer with an acoustic guitar was performing a song about Hurricane Katrina and the inability (or unwillingness) of the world’s richest nation to help its own people when the effects of climate change came home.
Photos from the day, and some audio clips, are attached (some of these will appear shortly as comments). The audio clips include the speeches made by former Labour environment minister Michael Meacher, Green MEP Caroline Lucas and Benedict Salsworth of the World Development Movement.
Related Indymedia articles:
Photos and report: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/329034.html
Photos and report: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/329051.html
Video (windows media): http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/329112.html
Video (quicktime): http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/329115.html
Edinburgh demo: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/329087.html
Cambridge critical mass: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/329064.html
Climate Indymedia is born: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/329118.html
Peak oil and climate change: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/329146.html
No to Air Expansion As Climate Issue Hots Up (UK IMC feature): http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/329010.html