On Sunday 29th November 2015, hundreds of Southampton residents joined with hundreds of thousands of people across the globe to show their support for climate action. The Southampton People’s Climate Demonstration took place in Guildhall Square with inspiring speeches, rousing music, street theatre and stalls.
Many thanks to the amazing Jenny Barnes who organised the event! Its aim was to ‘demonstrate that we want clean energy in order to have a stable climate and economy, and have clean air to breathe’. She opened the gathering by reminding us of the importance of campaigning for action on climate change, especially in the run up to the 21st UN conference on climate change (COP21).
“Over the next fortnight, we need the government to agree to a legally binding commitment to keep global warming below the crucial 2 degrees. Today, we stand in solidarity with millions of others around the world to say we want a cleaner, greener, healthier world, in which developing countries can pull themselves out of poverty using clean energy…It has been estimated that we have 17 years before we hit 2 degrees. We can’t wait until the deadline and then turn everything off.“
Three other speakers, representing different elements of our community, talked about their thoughts on climate action. First off, Helen Field, a Southampton resident, took up the topic of clean energy by encouraging us to embrace solar power.
Then Rebecca Kinge, of Dangerous Ideas, gave a rallying call to all sections of our society – local policy makers, institutions, businesses and individuals. “We need to act now to tackle climate change. We need to tell our world leaders to halt global warming. We need to ensure changes are being made in Southampton.” She also talked about 2 important meetings: in June with Southampton MPs at Westminster to ask for much more to be done on creating a low carbon future; and Friday’s ‘Southampton Climate Change Conversations‘ event at the University of Southampton.
“We want to continue this dialogue with each other, with our politicians, with business and with all members of our community. Everybody who cares about climate change is very welcome to join and post information [on this website] that can inform our response to climate change, or share news of activity which supports a greener future.”
The final speaker was James Dyke from the University of Southampton who asked us to
“Imagine living in a world where we consider the wellbeing of everyone alive now and those that will come after us. Imagine living in a city that plays an active part in tackling climate change and also becomes a better place to live. A place that you love. A place you are proud of. Why can’t we come together and transform the city? We can create meaningful change. Together we can become a force that can overcome. Do you want to make this change? Do you believe we can make this change?“
A lovely photo of everyone at the demo will be submitted to the UN conference along with images from other marches and climate events from around the world. The Southampton protesters also contributed their voices to a worldwide song about climate change – Sing for the Climate:
We need to wake up/ We need to wise up/ We need to open our eyes/ And do it now now now/ We need to build a better future/ And we need to start right now
This was led by the Southampton Red Notes Choir (their first public performance!) who share a love of singing, a passion for equality, fairness and justice.
We were also treated to a fantastic performance by the Southampton Ukelele Jam with lots of crowd participation and dancing around!
Thanks to everyone who helped to organise and support this amazing event!
Update: The demonstration featured in the Daily Echo on Monday 30th November with a photo