What do we want? Climate Action!

5th November 2009

When do we want it? Now! On Saturday 17 October, Oxfam and the Co-op organized Climate Action Now, a day of talks and group sessions at New Century Hall designed to educate people as to the urgency of taking action on both local and global levels to fight climate change, and also as a call to action in the build-up to Copenhagen. Obviously Manchester FoE took the opportunity to get involved: Alex Lee went on stage together with Lauren to perform Alex’s Copenhagen song (you can see this song performed at St Luke’s church in Liverpool) and later on Alex teamed up with Lauren and Frank Kennedy, the departing regional co-ordinator, to stir the climate change cauldron in a re-interpretation of the famous three witches’ scene from Macbeth. We also had a stall staffed by Ali, Damian, Carol and Georgia where we got more Food Chain postcards signed–the signatures came from as far afield as Cornwall and the Hebrides.

The main purpose of the conference, however, was to energise and enthuse and to this end we had speeches from Penney Poyzer (Queen of Green), Elvis Sukali from Oxfam in Malawi and Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre, not forgetting Lucy Pearce from Stop Climate Chaos. Penney left us with some food for thought about water-saving and organic produce; for example, when tempted to buy organic vegetables with hundreds of food miles, we ought to think about growing our own. Elvis told us about how climate change has already affected Malawi–the rainy season has become shorter and more unpredictable leading to a 70% drop in coffee production and a 90% fall in livestock holdings, and the shorter cold season leads to year-round outbreaks of malaria. Kevin pointed out the maths showing how further economic growth in the developed world is incompatible with stopping global temperature rises at 2C°. Finally Lucy urged us all to publicize the Wave demonstration and left us with the triple message of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition:

• Act Fair and Fast–to limit temperature rises to 2C°

• Protect the Poorest–who have done least to cause the problem

• Quit Dirty Coal–the main contribution to CO2 emissions

We hope to see as many of you as possible in London on December 5th!