I first heard about Climate Rush in January 2009. I was despairing about the ability and intention of our world’s governments to do anything about climate change.
With the spectre of the Third Runway and Kingsnorth looming then, what a welcome invitation it was to attend a (very civilized) sit-in at Heathrow and show our dissent with tea, cake, blankets and Edwardian garb!
Almost three years have passed, the world has changed yet internationally climate change negotiations are still stuck. It’s the penultimate day of yet another UN climate change conference, and still nothing is expected to change.
The US and China (who emit 40% of man-made CO2 emissions) are at logger-heads again. It looks as though the talks in Tianjin will end leaving a shadow over COP 16 in Cancun this winter. Commentators suggest that when the Kyoto protocol runs out in 2012 our leaders will have nothing ready to replace it.
The failure of action on climate change, at the upper-most level of governance, is more than depressing. It is fatal. When I consider how impossible the fight for environmental justice seems it is only the victories of past ‘impossible’ struggles that inspires me to have hope.
Climate Rush model themselves on the Suffragettes. The Suffragettes, who, in their time, used many forms of campaigning and direct action to fight against the pressing injustices of their day. The Suffragettes, whose use of such tactics, made their fight for justice the pressing issue of their day.
In the past few months I’ve heard so many people say that they’ve given up on fighting climate change. It’s sad and a little ironic since it is these people who, if mobilized, could make their dissent felt. They’ve lost hope because our international leaders fail us with every UN conference that comes to pass. Three weeks ago, as the parties prepared for their conferences, I remembered the sit-in at Heathrow and wondered where that optimistic, grass-roots activism had gone.
Two days later and I was on Nick Clegg’s doorstep, asking Miriam (ever-so-politely) to accept a large dose of climate Viagra to help Nick get hard on climate change. After six months getting to grips with what the election results mean for UK climate campaigns, Climate Rush is back and they’re recruiting.
Last week a group of Climate Suffragettes stormed into the editor’s office of the Express and demanded a meeting. For half an hour they discussed climate science and how best to encourage the media to put climate change, the facts and their impacts, on the front-page.
The Suffragettes gave hundreds of thousands of women and men a role in fighting for the votes. Climate Rush promises the same in our fight for climate justice. The sashes – red, with ‘Deeds not Words’ across the front – are being sewn. The postcards – and guides to protest – have been printed.
The venue has been booked: 7pm, Wednesday October 13th at Toynbee Hall. Your planet needs YOU, so swallow your apathy and change the world.