YouGen attends the People's Climate March 2014. And we liked it!
Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 September 2014 at 8:52 am
It started as a light tinkling, like the sound of a thousand distantly splintering light bulbs. Then it gathered as it neared us, part wind, part wave, part force of sound. It wasn’t until the roar was upon us and around us and then, in a second, past us, that it was recognisable for what it was: the swelling battle cry of 310,000 climate marchers intent of getting their message – or messages – heard.
I was part of the New York contingent of yesterday’s global People’s Climate March that saw 600,000 marching in 166 cities across the globe. And that call to action – immediately preceded by a minute’s silence for those who have already lost their lives due to climate catastrophes – was something else.
I marched with Solar1, an advocacy organisation dedicated to improving the knowledge and uptake of solar energy in New York City. Alongside us marched members of the Urban Green Council, the US chapter of the Green Building Council whose British branch, is so effective back at home. In front of us were the WWF, their life-size cuddly panda busy dishing out hugs. Along the way we met protesters of fracking, proponents of wind – and nuclear – power, and representatives from the New York Passive House movement. I met a couple who had driven 26 hours from Nebraska (the irony of their choice of transportation was not lost on them) complete with their pet Chihuahua to protest against a pipeline designed to carry tar sands oil all the way from Canada to the south, passing by their home along the way.
It was all a massive street party, complete with bands, wild costumes, even wilder dancing, spectacular floats and, memorably, a giant polar bear made entirely of lace and felt. Elsewhere in the two-mile march past some of Manhattan's most iconic sights, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon walked shoulder to shoulder with Al Gore and New York mayor Bill de Blasio. Gordon Brown and his family, Sting (of course) and Hollywood megastar turned UN climate ambassador Leonardo DiCaprio were there too.
This was, if you’ll excuse me, the sexy end of climate activism.
Today, I will sit back at my desk and continue to blog about damp cavity wall insulation, draughty windows and why the use of thermal stores still excludes solar thermal owners from claiming RHI. I think you’ll forgive me for filing this stuff firmly at the non-sexy end of that particular scale.
And yet, having attended yesterday’s march, felt that phenomenal wall of sound and seen a staggeringly large crowd march peacefully for change, I am filled with enthusiasm for my job and the fantastic work done by Team YouGen, all our members, energy experts and you, our indomitable readers.
We can’t control the direction of the talks at tomorrow’s UN climate summit, nor can we know the nature of decisions yet to be taken at the subsequent meeting scheduled to take place in Paris in 2015. Given the shambolic ending to the same event in Copenhagen in 2009 we have, perhaps, little reason to be hopeful.
What we can control though, are our own decisions about how we choose to live our lives. Sexy it is not, but this includes how densely we choose to insulate our lofts, how meticulously we choose to turn off lights in empty rooms, how we choose to heat and power our homes and from whom we choose to buy our energy.
So please today of all days, send us your questions about biomass boilers. Tell us why the feed-in tariff does, or doesn’t, work for you. Ask us to define the precise difference between the green deal, the green deal home improvement fund and the green goblin (I made that one up). We will be proud to find you an answer. And you should be proud for asking too.
Know that while your question may be small, you are part of something big.
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