Moving the Planet actions from Canada to Nepal

by Eoin Dubsky

September 26, 2011

Photo:  Nicolas Chauveau / Greenpeace.

More than 300 activists formed a giant wind turbine in Paris on Saturday, to demand clean, safe energy from the country’s leaders. The demonstration near the Eiffel Tower was part of a global day of action on climate change organized by and more than 100 groups and NGOs around the world including Greenpeace. The climate movement is on the move!

Renewable energy, smartly used, can and will meet our demands. That’s the message Greenpeace activists delivered to politicians contemplating tar sands oil pipelines, deepsea drilling, and nuclear power. Activists came together in more than 2,000 rallies from Argentina to the U.S., Sweden to India, and Nepal to New Zealand.

Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, helps hold a banner at the front of a march with community activists near the Fisk Coal Power Station in a Moving Planet global day of action.
Photo: Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, on a march with U.S. community activists near the Fisk Coal Power Station as part of the Moving Planet global day of action. Stephen Carrera / Greenpeace

Energised by Saturday’s rallies, Canadian activists are due to converge today on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest against the Keystone XL pipeline. Hundreds have signed up and have said they will risk arrest to peacefully demonstrate against fossil fuels.

Rex Weyler described the craziness of the Canadian-US tar sands pipelines in his latestDeep Green article.You can follow Greenpeace Canada on twitter for updates throughout the day. If you can’t join them, show your support online by sharing the news far and wide.

One of my colleagues, Anna Keenan, sent me this email from Nepal on Saturday night:

I spend most of my time working as a climate campaigner for Greenpeace International in Amsterdam, however for the 2011 global day of climate action Moving our Planet beyond fossil fuels I have somehow ended up in Kathmandu, Nepal, with climate-activist photographer Robert van Waarden. I simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to write about what “Moving Planet” has been like in this magical (and slightly crazy) city of contrasts!

Today, there were three climate events in the Kathmandu area:

First we were up at 5am to make it on the bus to Dulikhel with Small Earth Nepal, a wonderful organization who are working on many aspects of sustainability from awareness-raising, to scientific methodological training, to promoting biogas in rural villages. Today, 100 people hiked from Dhulikhel to Namo-buddha Monastery where over 350 young monks are living and learning Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. The monks led our group in a meditation on a Zero-Carbon Future.

Aside from philosophical leadership, these monks are also into practical action. One of the many interesting initiatives at the monastery is the on-site production of heating briquettes from the monastery’s paper waste and agricultural waste. These carbon-neutral briquettes are burnt in place of firewood (which is in short supply) to keep the monastery buildings warm in winter – and because the briquettes burn without smoke, they also improve air quality.

The second event Nepalese Youth for Climate Action, along with Kathmandu Cycle City 2020, organised a cycle rally with over 120 keen young cyclists participated! In Kathmandu, every intersection is a chaotic, noisy blur of pedestrians, motorcycles, rickshaws, bicycles, taxis, trucks, as well as chickens, dogs and cows, all competing for space. The diesel fumes choke the city and many residents suffer from allergies or skin reactions.

Cycling is not only good for the global climate – it could be a great solution to the local air-quality problem, and with no fuel costs, it is affordable – a big concern for most residents! However, the traffic chaos makes cycling a dangerous choice for anyone trying to do the right thing’. Today’s cycle rally promotes the goal of Kathmandu being cycle-friendly within the decade these young people are campaigning for cycle lanes so that more people can choose to cycle, in safety.

The third event was a fully solar-powered screening of short eco-films from around Nepal, run by Story Cycle. The solar panels charged the batteries during the day, and when the sun set on Patan’s Durbar Square, that renewable energy powered (despite rainy conditions!) a screening of 15 short films, made by young people, about local eco-issues in Nepal and South Asia.

These three events are just the tip of the iceberg (or should I say instead just the edge of a great Himalyan glacier’?) of the Nepali sustainability initiatives that we have had the pleasure of learning about over the last few weeks. With so many different types of climate action happening in one place, and so many inspiring, intelligent young people on the case, a sustainable future for Nepal is looking more likely every moment.

Visit the Moving Planet website to see hundreds more photos from around the world.

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