The first Saturday in December saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets of London to protest against climate change and the irresponsible actions of many developed countries and large trans-national companies. Dressed in blue, the demonstrators created a human wave through the capital to alert the government to the fact that ordinary people are both aware of and concerned about the rate at which our climate in changing and the massively negative impact it is having on those in developing countries.
The ‘Green Action’ group at my university organised a coach for those wanting to attend The Wave and we got to London at eleven am to make our way to Grosvenor Sq where the march was to start at around one pm. Some people had made banners and placards at the Green Action meeting the previous Monday night and we got into the spirit of things with blue face paints and clothing too. There was a great atmosphere around the start of the march with small children and OAP’s alike having turned out to show their support for a fair, ambitious and binding climate change deal to come out of the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen.
As a student group, I think it is fair to say that we had our own unique take on the issue of climate change. We wouldn’t like to think we are spending our time and money at university, only to be struggling to survive each day in a few decades time, regretting the fact that nothing was done when it could have been. We aren’t in government, or on the board of major worldwide corporations, who have the actual power to make strong and sensible decisions regarding climate change. We do, however, have the power of our voice, our feet, and our vote and are determined to make our feelings clear through all means possible.
The Wave was actually my first experience of a demonstration and one I will never forget. The sense of unity amongst the crowd was, at times, overwhelming and I really feel that the march embodied the common concerns of people everywhere. We were blessed with a dry day, despite the cold, and even though this was far from guaranteed people still came out in their thousands to stand up for a common cause
The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, who organised The Wave, has brought together many different charities and the variety of groups and people in London that day really paid testament to the hard work of the Coalition and its partners. The supporters of the many groups represented at The Wave came from an even larger range of backgrounds and many will have had different personal reasons for being there, with some being more concerned with the environment, development or wildlife, for example. What we all have in common, though, is the belief in our ability to positively influence our government and the other world leaders in Copenhagen when they meet to discuss climate change and review the Kyoto Protocol later this month.
Climate change can no longer be talked about as something that will affect us, it already is effecting and has affected numerous communities across the UK, as the floods earlier this autumn illustrate. Marching round the capital, in solidarity with people whose fate is not disconnected from our own, made us optimistic that by highlighting these issues to those who are in a position to do something about it at a global level positive changes can and will be made.