Monday, 9 March 2015

Time to Act 2015

"Here we are, with just nine months ahead of those critical climate talks in Paris. It’s not nine months to pressure our leaders to act. We have nine months to act ourselves. Nine months to become the leaders we need." - Naomi Klein

Lambeth Greens at Time to Act on Saturday with Caroline Lucas

2014 saw climate action taken by a range of groups; from community-lead grassroots organisations such as the Nanas of Lancashire to well established organisations such as Green Peace. The climax of the action came on the 21st of September, when nearly 400,000 people took to the streets in New York ahead of the U.N’s Climate Summit on the 24th. In London, a solidarity march drew a further 40,000 people, and thousands more held marches in cities across the globe. From this we can see that it’s not just climate which is changing; while climate sceptics and other such dinosaurs still choke out their death rattles (“we’re dependant on fossil fuels, the warming we see is natural!”), 97% of scientists have reached a consensus that human induced emissions are driving an unprecedented rate of climate change, and we the people are determined not to simply accept this, but to Act.

6 months later, Saturday 7th March saw a further 20,000 people march through the streets of London. What were we calling for? The same action we were calling for prior to the 2014 Climate Summit, the action we’re calling for still.  We have a clear understanding of what such action would look like: the transfer of investment away from fossil fuels and into renewables, improved public infrastructure to support a move away from private vehicles, insulating homes & public buildings, rethinking the livestock industry and the insane quantities of animal product both used and wasted by the West every year. It means, crucially, a complete reorganisation of our global economy. And that’s the bit that scares people. It’s not just an Inconvenient Truth, it’s one which is directly oppositional to the ideology of the small group of people who govern almost every aspect of our daily lives: it goes diametrically against the interests of the multinationals and big business globally.

On a national scale, we know that our government is hesitant. What action they have taken is insufficient. We know also that this is in no small part due to the funding all big parties receive from big business, and that inaction is the by-product of their own self interest. And here we see how climate change begins to drill into issues within all factions of our society and political system. While big business holds the purse strings to the parties, the parties are unable to make sound decisions based on science and in the interests of the people. 

We need a government which recognises its obligation to plan not just for all sections of society today, but all sections of tomorrow’s society too, and to do so in a democratic and unbiased manner. In the words of Caroline Lucas, MP, speaking at the march, what we have today is “a refusal on the part of most politicians to stand up to fossil fuel lobbyists, listen to the scientists, and act in the public interest.”

That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. Time to Act 2015 had one theme running throughout which made it an absolute pleasure to attend, that theme was Hope. As 12 year old Laurel, a truly inspiring speaker at the event said; there are more of us than there are of them. And we have a voice, a voice now raised and united against climate change. And this is where the Green Party comes in: we are the only party not funded by big business and taking a strong stance against climate change. To borrow words, again, from Lucas: “In coming together we help build the climate movement and inspire others to join us.”

See 12 year old Laurel’s rousing speech here.

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