© Greenpeace/Dave Walsh
Here in London, we're all recovering from a hectic day at the Count in the Square - 25,000 people packed into London's Trafalgar Square. We were gathered to make a call for action on climate change - everyone from the Women's Institute to the rock band Razorlight. Quite a mixture.
On the bus into central London, I spotted people making their way towards Trafalgar Square. Near Islington, a mother and two daughters boarded, carrying a fantastic handmade placard - on one side was a sad face and the words "do nothing". When they flipped it around, it the other side showed a smiley face, and the words "do something!".
Trafalgar Square was beginning to get crowded when I arrived. I first tracked down one of my webbie colleagues, Jamie, waiting by Canada House for entrants to our Glastonbury competition. Across the street, the lobby of the Trafalgar Hotel had become media HQ. Cathy from Greenpeace UK as huddled around a laptop with other members of the Stop Climate Chaos competition, turning out press releases and the like. I bumped Nick, of the our photographers, and we both dumped some our equipment, and headed back into the Square to mingle with the crowd.
I tracked down the Greenpeace gang up near the steps of the National Gallery, along with two... polar bears. The bears were crouched on the ground, being interrogated by a bunch of little kids. "So, do you eat bread then?", asked one little one.
On stage, comedian Rufus Hound has the task of (global) warming up the crowd which was swelling ever bigger as various groups arrived - there was one bunch of 2,000 cyclists still to arrive, plus a parade of people from Plane Stupid. It was getting difficult to move out there. There was even people arriving by canoe and in biofuel green taxis. Surfers Against Sewage arrived wearing wetsuits and carrying surf boards. I kid you not.
I completed a round of the square, bumping into lots of people - Jim, Willy, Belinda - all from Greenpeace UK, and all working as stewards for the day. Then I stole into the backstage area as the various speakers and musicians appeared. These included actress Miranda Richardson, Bishop of Liverpool Right Reverend James Jones, Ashok Sinha, Director of Stop Climate Chaos, TV presenter Simon Amstell, writer, comic and activist Rob Newman and President of Islamic Relief Dr Hana El Banna. Broadcaster Adam Hart Davis and Practical Action Project Officer Sharon Looremeta led a rousing talk on the effects of climate change on the Maasai people of Kenya. We create climate change in the 1st world - then export it in the form of droughts and floods elsewhere.
For me, Rob Newman was the highlight - very... VERY angry man. He talked about how UK fools itself into thinking that has a 'small' country of Britain while being a major player in the world stage. He went on to talk about companies like Shell - all the controversies that come with the company's behaviour in Africa, and called for a boycot of The Royal Bank of Scotland, who own Nat West, because of their investment in climate damaging projects.
And there was music, of course - including singer KT Tunstall and Razorlight - who drew a large, screaming female contingent to the front of the crowd. I missed them - I was six floors up, on the roof of the Trafalgar Hotel, taking photographs of the huge crowd.
The theme of the day - and the word from most speakers was pretty consistent - we're as mad has hell, and we're not going to take it anymore. Everyone in Trafalgar Square is intent on doing their bit to curb climate change - so why can't Tony Blair, the UK government and other governments worldwide to their bit? In order to negotiate an international deal which would keep global warming to lower than two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels, the UK government needs to lead by example - by introducing a Climate Change Bill in this month's Queen's Speech. It's not good enough to make gestures though - this Bill should deliver annual cuts in the UK's carbon dioxide emissions. The government also needs to assist developing countries in both adapting to climate change and accessing clean energy to meet their development needs.
Stop Climate Chaos members are: A Rocha, ActionAid, ACTSA, Airport Watch, BMS world Mission, CAFOD, Campaign against Climate Change, Carplus, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, From Greenhouse to Green House, Garden Organic, Greenpeace, Islamic Foundation for Ecology & Environmental Sciences, Medact, Operation Noah, Oxfam, People & Planet, Plan B, Practical Action, Road Block, RSPB, Save our World, Speak, Surfers Against Sewage, Sustrans, Tearfund, UNISON, The Wildlife Trusts, Take Global Warming Seriously, Transport 2000, National Federation of Women's Institutes, UNA, UNISON, Women's Environment Network, Woodland Trust, World Development Movement and WWF.
I Count website »
Moblog video: Singer KT Tunstall talks to Greenpeace webbie Tracy about being at iCount.
Check out more moblog images and video »
Polar Bears by the Greenpeace banner
© Greenpeace/Dave Walsh
© Greenpeace/Dave Walsh
Ashok Sinha, Director of Stop Clima... Read more >