Grassroots mobilizes over the weekend at int’l climate conference
Post by Will Bates, Stepitup 2007
The weekend has finished, and countries are diving into their second week in Bali of chit-chatting about what to do about climate change. While we may not be seeing much bold action so far at this round of negotiations, we know that global public pressure for urgent action is beginning to mount …
Saturday was the third annual International Day of Action on Climate Change, which the Global Climate Campaign helped coordinate in more than 85 countries. Local groups and international activists have carried forth the message for urgent action in a big way here in Bali.
Many of the International Youth Delegation were fortunate enough to join WALHI (the largest Indonesian environmental organization) and other community groups for their Saturday event, dubbed the "Cultural Parade for Climate Justice" in Denpasar, the capital of Bali. Imagine a typical march and rally in the U.S., then add 100 degrees, humid weather, high energy, and lots of Indonesian speeches. The 3,000-person gathering was an inspiring display of well-organized grassroots action, and the fun didn’t stop there …
Just hours after the march, a smaller delegation of international youth, led by members of Avaaz.org, staged another event on the grounds of U.N. conference. They carried a banner representing the more than 545,000 global citizens that signed a petition for climate action as part of their virtual march targeting the U.N. negotiations.
The big finale of the weekend was a spectacular aerial photo action on Kuta Beach on Sunday. With aerial artist John Quigley leading ground operations, and a few international youth delegates rallying the community, we managed to gather more than 1,000 people to form a unique aerial message to the U.N. delegates and world leaders. The image of the world awash in rising seas and the call to act now will hopefully penetrate some of the nitty-gritty negotiating sessions and add to building pressure on delegates to commit to strong action here in Bali.
Regardless of what impact the image may have at this round of UNFCCC negotiations, we know it had tremendous meaning for all of us who gathered on the beach yesterday. In many ways it ways it was unlike any action we had ever joined in the U.S. All the participants were thankful for the opportunity to act as a unified, international, grassroots force — spontaneous singing and prayer from the crowd was an incredibly powerful experience. The global grassroots climate movement is building momentum. Now, it’s up to U.N. negotiators and the governments they represent to follow suit.
Click here to see more photos from the rest of the weekend.