Saturday, December 08, 2007

Climate Demo:

The climate demo today was pretty wet. Wet and not extraordinarily enormous. Whilst I'm sure the weather had some role to play in lack of turnout I think that there were perhaps 5,000 in attendance well down from the 25,000 last year.

It's interesting that at a time when the numbers involved in day to day environmental activity has never been higher an international demo on the general issue of climate change just does not mobilise this army in any significant number. There could be lots of reasons for this of course, besides the weather.

The climate demo does not have the concrete focus that a specific environmental campaign in your town will have. A local group will be set up to do a particular thing - to stop or encourage something actual - this demo has no such specificity. Greens tend to be pretty practical people who like to get their hands dirty, it might be the case that many just don't see the point of this kind of action which could smack of abstract propaganda to some.

I'd also say that the environmental movement is one that is far more *organisationally* dispersed, with no central hub through which to organise big national events. For lots of reasons this can be a very good thing - but for organising a national / London demo it has distinct disadvantages. On the positive side it does mean there were a number of smaller actions feeding into the main body - a direct action by plane stupid, an action against Tesco (see Derek's account), a blockade against the department of transport, as well as bike rides and a religious service - something for everyone surely.

Frankly the climate change movement doesn't need set piece demos so I'm not particularly phased by the reduction in size of the march. Anyone who is involved in their area in green activity knows that the number of activists are growing and the hearing we get from the general public is getting more and more positive. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice to have ways of mobilising those forces in a sea of strength that could help inspire and motivate progressive activists, but it's not the end of the world if it doesn't happen. That comes later...

You may also like to try these reports from Polly, Louise and Liam on for size.


Louisefeminista said...

I am useless at working out the numbers on demos.... It seems to have been between 5 to 10,000.

I think the nasty miserable weather put people off and it took me ages to dry out. I liked seeing people dressed as tigers (quite a few), polar bears (one or two) and sea creatures (one woman I was able to photograph was dressed as a fine looking mermaid!)

It was vibrant as there was lots of music (sax, drums and trumpets)and kinda made you forget the rain for a bit as people were dancing around.

Jim Jay said...

I prefer to forget the rain by being inside - but you're right it was a very vibrant demo - lots of noise, music, dancing - and it didn't feel like a "branded" demo in the way that these things can sometimes.

Phil BC said...

How did the mermaid - beloved of many a photographer on the march - stop her make up from running?

It'll be interesting to see how the CACC-backed trade union conference in Feb goes. I'll see if I can get myself down to that one.