Saturday, December 12, 2009

Giant climate march draws a crowd, but does it cause a stir?


          Today's climate march drew a crowd of thousands- tens of thousands- of protestors. Yes, it was quite the event. Climate activists of every make took to the streets to march from the Parliament building in downtown Copenhagen to the Bella Center (where the U.N climate conference is being held). These activists had a motive, to let our leaders know that the world is watching, that the world will not take a weak climate protocol, and that the people of the world are.... angry?.... no, the feeling of the march wasn't one of anger, or even frustration. The feeling in the air was more to the tune of optimistically concerned.

The word concerned seems to sum up my feeling of today's march. I'm concerned because we might have missed a chance to really show the world how frustrated, scared, and pissed-off we are.

Fluffy is another word that comes to mind. Yes it was pretty: there were banners, costumes, chanting, drums, music..etc.. It was a child friendly way to spend a Saturday afternoon! It was not, in other words, what the world needed.

Yesterday afternoon sixty people were arrested. A march that consisted of, at most, one thousand people - a fraction of today's protest - took to the streets with so much passion, the energy in the air was palpable. The feeling in the smaller march was one of civil disobedience and utter anger at the status quo. Had that protest contained forty thousand people the world would be a different place now than it was a week ago when the climate conference began.

Marching down a planned path in costumes while waving signs that all read the same words in is not protesting, and it is not confronting the apocalyptic mess that humanity is blindly walking into.

The people alive today owe it to future generations to take a lesson from Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, the South Africans who fought Apartheid, and the East Germans who brought down the Berlin wall. Non-violent direct action has proven, throughout history, to incite change.

(Non-violence also means no throwing bricks at the police and through windows of innocent people)

Having so many people in one place, at one time, all for the sake of combating climate change is an opportunity that won't happen again for a while. It's time to make some waves.

Photo 1: The climate march organizes in front of the parliament building in downtown Copenhagen
Photo 2: Police guard a McDonald's that is on the planned route for the protest
Photo 3: Journalists climb scaffolding to get a better shot of the march

No comments:

Post a Comment