I’m back in Sydney from the fascinating and very thought-provoking World Forum on Natural Capital 2015 in Edinburgh (to be discussed here, later this week). So I was among the estimated 50,000 people from babies to grandparents who marched for the Earth in Sydney yesterday from the Domain down Macquarie Street (#peoplesclimate). Here’s some of what was said, followed by some pictures:
‘COP* 21 is the most important meeting of world leaders in our lifetime.’ For the first time cities and mayors have a role in the Summit. 51 percent of the world’s people now live in cities, which cover only 2 per cent of the earth’s surface but spew out over 80 per cent of its emissions. Clover Moore, Lord Mayor City of Sydney
*COP stands for the Conference of the Parties, the supreme body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
‘We cannot speak of climate change without acknowledging the devastating effect of mining on Aboriginal people and land.’ Reece Proudfoot, campaigner and Sydney Climate March 2015 organiser
‘Australia has to take seriously Indigenous conceptions of the earth.’
‘This is the beginning not the end.’
‘This looks like the biggest climate march this country has ever seen. It has come just in time. We are in danger of losing the Great Barrier Reef. We will lose that asset* if we don’t act today. We need steep cuts in emissions. Sadly there are no easy fixes for the climate problem.’ Professor Tim Flannery
*Here Flannery adopts the language of natural capital accounting which I’ll be writing more about when I cover the World Forum on Natural Capital 2015.
‘Watching this on tv tonight will be the CEOs and board members of the biggest companies [BOOS* from the crowd]. They know us as customers. Now they know you as protesters.’ Professor Tim Flannery
* I’ll be discussing what I see as the problem with this default position (opposition) when I write here about natural capital.
At the end of the speeches, performances, music in the Domain, Darren Percival and the Cafe at the Gateway of Salvation sang the civil rights song ‘Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around‘. The march was moving in every way. Here’s how it looked from the ground: