Thousands walk against warming across Australia
By Alix Piatek
Yesterday the unpredictable Sydney weather was an ominous backdrop for the annual Walk Against Warming.
Despite the sporadic rain, Belmore Park hosted an estimated crowd of 1,500 people who marched along Elizabeth street and Castlereagh street to convince political leaders to take action on climate change.
Kelly Dent, a member of Oxfam said: “This weather is a prediction of what is to come if nothing is done about climate change.”
Walk Against Warming was estimated to attract 10,000 people nationally and was sponsored by various NGO’s including Greenpeace, The Wilderness Society, World Vision and Climate Action Network Australia.
Chris Washington-Sare, head of fundraising at Greenpeace said the political parties are struggling to realize what they need to do.
“Politicians are in the pocket of the coal industry, we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and move to a clean and renewable energy future,” he explained.
While the event advocated putting a tax on carbon, no new coal fired power stations and a guarantee to cut pollution over the next term of government it was also aimed to inspire and motivate the community to push for change.
PHOTO GALLERY – Click to enlarge
[miniflickr photoset_id="72157624734086478" ]
Judy and John Ebner, veterans of the event, have attended every year since its inception in 2005. Mrs Ebner said it wasn’t the biggest turn out she had seen, perhaps due to people’s frustration with the lack of action.
Despite this frustration, Mrs Ebner said the event not only raises awareness but inspires people about climate change: “If you can get young people involved, instead of sitting there and feeling terribly depressed about the future of the planet, it does have a positive effect.”
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) organised the event and placed an emphasis on the lack of climate change discussion in the Federal election campaign. Pepe Clarke, CEO of the NCC reminded protesters that evidence of climate change surrounded them.
He encouraged people to act by voting next Saturday. He said: “Today and for the rest of the week we need to send a strong message to our federal political leaders that we want firm action on climate change in the next term of Government.”
The NCC arranged a petition to be circulated and hopes to get over 1,000 signatures from the people at the event. The petition will be presented to the political leaders before the election next Saturday in an attempt to encourage further debate about climate change.
An NCC climate campaigner, Su Fei Tan, said the aim of the protest was to challenge politicians to generate concrete policies and a pathway forward in reducing our carbon footprint.
Ms Tan said that people have become frustrated with politicians and while the issue is a difficult one, our political leaders cannot be afraid: “We need leaders to stand up and say this is my plan and to follow through on that plan.”