Saturday 4th December 8.30am
The day started just after eight am with a telephone interview on what we are doing for the march in London to Radio Shropshire. Although the questions were clearly aimed to be very challenging (i.e. “but what ever you do won’t people just object to it?”), I was pleased to be allowed enough time to answer in full. Now there is just time to collect my thoughts before the first presentation of the day. I have been asked to present Zero Carbon Britain at the start of Campaign Against Climate Change’s bicycle rally at Lincoln Inn’s Fields behind Holborn.
Saturday 4th December 10.36am
Arrived at Lincoln Inn’s Fields park around 9.30. I began to think it was strange that there was no one about. Then I saw a large flock of fluorescent-coated cyclists circling the perimeter. I immediately went over to join them, but as I approached I realised they were all police cyclists. However soon after that there was the sound of distant music and the cycle convoy appeared. An array of cyclists on all sorts of strange and wonderful machines then began arriving from all directions. Clearly there was not as many as the organisers were expecting, but there had been a week of ice and snow, and those who were there were in good spirits. Aided by a cycle-powered amplifier I presented a brief overview of the history, purpose and findings of the Zero Carbon Britain report. Everyone seemed very pleased to hear about it. It’s always re-assuring when people come up to you at the end of a talk and thank you for what you are doing. Anyway, it was then time to head to Marble Arch by tube to find the rest of the Zero Carbon Britain team and get ready for the march.
Saturday 4th December 12.25pm
There must be somewhat over a thousand of us assembled at Hyde Park Corner ready to march off through London towards Parliament. But before we go, we are assembling into a huge 2030 shape at the foot of the watchful eye of a cherry picker full of photo-journalists. Everyone seems in good spirits and the police are being very polite and most helpful. A sub-crowd is gathering rapidly around a Hari Krishna trailer that is giving away free vege-curry and rice, which is much appreciated. As the march gets underway the Hari’s break out into a kind of ‘mandolin steam-punk’ version of their usual chats – sounds great but a totally new one on me!
Saturday 4th December 2.10pm
After a very peaceful and well-received march across the capital, the houses of Parliament are now in site. I must say it is amazing to look upon a veritable sea of Zero Carbon Britain 2030 placards and banners. I can see Alex and few others taking photos and video. We have taken the CAT banner up towards the front, and are handing out cards to the public explaining about the report and how they can download a copy. I have just heard the loud hailers crew doing a “What do we want? – Zero Carbon Britain!” call and response. I remember a few years ago at an early project meeting a few of us discussing whether we would ever hear it being called on a demo, and it really warms my heart to hear it come true. Clearly there are not as many people here as with previous climate rallies, but calling for a positive vision of what we actually want has added a different feel to the day.
Saturday 4th December 2.30pm
We arrived outside Parliament to the sound of Seize the Day. The speakers included Caroline Lucas MP and one of my long-standing hero’s Michael Meacher MP – one of the most honest and dedicated politicians I have ever met. Then it was my turn, just as a stepped up to the stage an official looking person said politely, “you have three minutes”. These minutes seemed to pass very very quickly, but I think I got most of my points in and people seemed to get the point and were clearly excited about downloading the report. Then a few more speakers took the stage including my good friend Ben Brangwyn from Transition Network. I think the day went well!!
Saturday 4th December 21.02pm
The train as far as Birmingham New Street, was, as always, swift, comfortable and on time. My next train from Birmingham to Machynlleth was standing room only, due to an earlier cancelled service from Shrewsbury. There was a bit more space after Wolverhampton, but within ten minutes of setting off it stopped suddenly. Then after an announcement they were trying to find the cause of the problem, it proceeded towards Telford at about 10 miles per hour. I think I am going to be very late home, but I am on a train and it’s moving; and for that I am always grateful!
Saturday 4th December 21.24pm
I am almost back in Machynlleth now. What a week! Thank you for travelling with me. I really love my job, I find it most engaging and exhilarating and the only way I know of staying sane in such insane times. But before I sign off as this week’s “Face of CAT Facebook”, I would just like to add a note of thanks to the ever-so-hardworking Kim Bryan, CAT’s media officer who has collected all my late night ‘on the road emails’ and images, diligently up-loading them to the CAT site. I have really enjoyed sharing a week of my life with you all, and am now looking forward to a restful Sunday at the CAT Christmas Fayre!
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