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Saturday, 14 November 2015

Let's Have Some Fun and Save the Planet

Would you like to enjoy live music, get a little exercise, and hear inspirational words to help save the planet?  Knowing that you would be making a difference to woods and trees, and attempting to reverse Climate Change at the same time?  Well you can, because the People's March for Woods and Trees will enable you to do just that!

There are over 2000 events taking place across our whole planet next weekend, on the 28th and 29th November 2015.  In the UK, they will be taking place in all the capital cities, as well as many smaller events dotted across the country.  I've listed the main city events below, but if you would like to attend a smaller event closer to you, you can find them on the Global Climate March Event Finder (as well as those across the planet too - just type in your country, city, or zip / post code for your area).

Climate Change

It's all in aid of drawing attention to the importance of Climate Change, the damage it is doing to our planet, and to bring it to the attention of our Global World Leaders who will be deciding what action will be taken on the next global climate deal, which they will be negotiating in Paris on Monday 30th November.  

These days climate change is having a much bigger impact on the world.  Instead of the scientists just predicting it, we can see the changes greenhouse gases are having on the planet.  The rising temperatures of global warming are creating freak weather patterns, causing extended heat waves, snow in countries not used to having it (such as Egypt), and violent storms.  

These weather patterns are effecting our seasons, making them more erratic, slower to start, and causing confusion to the plants and animals of this planet.  In my own garden this year, I have witnessed shrubs that should have been shedding their leaves, instead they are flowering in October and November, confused by the milder weather we have been having.  October is the month when weather normally turns drastically colder in the UK, causing trees to shed their leaves.  This year, insects have been flying around when they should be hidden away.  Small animals that normally hibernate at this time of the year, like our garden Hedgehog, are still active when they should be sleeping through winter.

This change in the timing of natural events can cause a loss of synchrony, so species that rely on each other, are now out of step with one another.  Some animals will do much better, whilst others will struggle, breaking up the natural balance between the two.  We are also more at risk of having non-native invasive species, who are not meant to be in our country, taking over and driving out native species, due to a changed weather climate that ordinarily would not allow them to thrive here.  This is how our native plants and animals who are quite common now, can become endangered and possibly extinct in the future.

Woods and Trees can really help to alleviate this problem.  With trees storing carbon, they help reduce greenhouse gas emissions which are changing our climate.  The more trees the better.  Trees and woodland also ease problems with flooding, they drink up water through their roots, which also helps hold waterlogged land together, preventing landslides during periods of heavy rain (which we seem to be having rather a lot of in England at the moment!).  Trees can also provide a renewable source of winter fuel, reducing the need for fossil fuels which are adding to the problem.

The time to act on Climate Change is now.  Many people believe we are almost at the point of no return, with scientists discovering new data which suggests sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted.  If emissions aren't cut, they believe "multi-meter sea-level rise would become practically unavoidable.  Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating.  It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization."

This makes me think of my own island that I live on, England.  After the Ice Age, sea levels rose that cut off England from mainland Europe.  If the ice continues to thaw now due to global warming, will sea levels rise above my country?  Will I effectively be homeless?  I hadn't thought of my own country possibly being submerged underwater, and my country's population (myself included) becoming refugees seeking higher ground on which to live.  You can well imagine that on any remaining high ground, the people already occupying that land would not be so keen to accept migrants.  Suddenly life in the movie Waterworld doesn't seem quite so much science fiction, as potentially science fact.  

Marching for Change
I believe we need to show our world leaders not only that we care, but that they must take action now, or this planet will look very different in the near future, a change which may well become irreversible.   

The major events taking place in the capital cities of the United Kingdom are:

Belfast, Northern Ireland
Sunday 29th November 2015
A rally with live music and speakers hosted by Niall Bakewell from Friends of the Earth.
Cardiff, Wales
Saturday 28th November 2015
A bike ride and rally with speakers and live entertainment hosted by Delphine.  You can choose to take part in either the bike ride, or rally, or both!
Edinburgh, Scotland
Saturday 28th November 2015
You are invited to wear your brightest colours for an inspirational rally with speakers and live music at the iconic Ross Bandstand, hosted by Rea Cris.
London, England
Sunday 29th November 2015
The People's March for Climate, Justice and Jobs will be marching right up to Westminster, and culminating with a rally with live music and a range of speakers, hosted by Fatima Ibrahim.
The London People's March will be putting on coaches from various points all over the country to help supporters get there.  Check out The Climate Justice website for more informaiton.
If you'd like to take part on one of the major events above, you can sign-up on The Woodland Trust People's March page, where they can keep you up-to-date with the latest news on routes and meet-up places, and if you meet up with them on the day of the march, they will even give you a biodegradable Woodland Trust poncho and a placard to carry!

If you'd prefer to take part in a smaller event closer to you, or in your own country, don't forget you can check out the Global Climate March Event Finder, which has all the events in all countries, with details of what will be happening at each event.  

Some of the other events around the UK will include fancy dress in Southport, poets, circus acts and inspirational speakers in Canterbury, as well as many candlelit vigils around the country with words of inspiration and music to shine a light of hope for our planet.

Around the world people will be showing their world leaders they care too, in New York City, USA, they will be holding their first annual NYC World Climate Festival / March where people will be marching to Times Square with singing, dancing, talking, listening and laughing.  There will also be people marching in Canberra, Australia, where they will be having music, speeches and stalls in a family friendly Community Festival of Solutions, inspiring people towards action and change.

Whatever you do, make sure you go out there and have fun, show you care about the future of our planet, and ultimately, all life on Earth.

Photo Credits:  Images used under the Flickr Creative Commons License:  Image 1 by Annette Bernhardt, Image 2 by Susan Melkisethian, Image 3 © Peter Bowden, Image 4 by Benjamin Lyons, Image 5 by The Weekly Bull, Image 6 by Jason, Image 7 by Stephen Melkisethian, Image 8 by M Larsen-Daw/WTML, Image 9 & 10 by TCDavis, Image 11 by canopic.

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