Climate change appeared to have gone off the radar since the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009. World leaders had not been vocal enough in keeping it in the foreground of popular consciousness.
However, 2,000 rallies across 162 countries, including one of 40,000 people in London, UK, showed the breadth of concern under the common call for action to end the climate crisis. The immense turn out in London, which exceeded organizers’ expectations, indicated just how engaged and active citizens are and can be in protecting our future.
We met on a warm and sunny Sunday morning in central London. Clustered on the bank of the River Thames, the Population Matters contingent tried to stay stationary in the tide of moving bodies. We were one of many organisations that took part to show solidarity. Whether representing religious, social, scientific or political groups or were unaligned individuals, all came together to voice their concerns over the need for climate action.
Amongst the initial confusion, Population Matters members converged on our array of blue and white flags and banners. T-shirts were distributed until we displayed one visible and consistent message while a supporter brandished a shiny brass megaphone that raised his voice above the throngs to warn of overpopulation. Then, we were off…for approximately 100 yards, after which we drew to a halt, looking around and wondering what had happened. Luckily, the sun continued to shine and there were some amusing costumes — a member was wearing a green wig and a dog sported our T-shirt. A distant beat of drums also helped to keep us in good spirits.
We later heard that our long wait was due to our being at the back of a mile-long procession. The speeches had been finished for an hour by the time we arrived. This was a very impressive event all in all!
On our part of the march, the Population Matters contingent did its utmost to be visible, heard and happy. Marching along the embankment of the river at a steady pace, we were gathering new people to our cause, explaining our purpose, answering queries, handing out our flyers and of course hearing other voices. It was also a great opportunity for our members who had travelled from around the country to meet one another. When we reached the Houses of Parliament we milled with the crowds, before dispersing back to our respective homes.
One lad was perched comfortably on top of a street lamp with a green heart placard signalling peace in his hand and the famous Big Ben clock silhouetted behind him. This was a final fitting image for the march.