Several people who asked for help with tickets on Friday afternoon were clearly going to the Climate Action March. One lady had put a green beanie on her 6 moth old baby and told me fondly, “We’re meeting up with daddy first. It’ll be her first march.”
By the time I’d signed off at work and got to Melbourne Central, the speeches were well underway and the crossroads and the state library square were packed with people spilling over to the other side of the road. Banners were everywhere. Schools, Unions, the Quakers, the farmers.
You can never hear the speeches so we usually just cheer along with everybody else. I caught up with people, met my sister and came across various long lost friends in crowd. The teenagers were playing some kind of chasey through the crowd. A friend from the country told me this seemed like a huge crowd. I thought it looked pretty respectable.
Meanwhile people moved in and out of the station as normal intent on Friday night dinners and dates. Why couldn’t they stop and join in?
After about ½ an hour we started to move off. Like a big slow beast lumbering to its feet, the crowd got down onto the tram tracks and started shuffling down along Swanston Street. Though moving slowly the atmosphere was cheerful and the crowd was full of families and kids – all happy to feel that they were doing something, anything to make a difference to a seemly insoluble problem – to address the sense of overhanging doom troubling them. Much like those who marched against Wars and the bomb must have in the past.
Midway down we came upon a friend perched on a traffic island looking for his wife and joined him watching the passing parade. There were bands and dancers. The Tibetan and the Polynesian communities danced past and so did the Christians. There were fabulous banners and sheets painted with poster paint – a huge set of scales weighting coal against renewables being wheeled along on a trolley by three people and a hills hoist covered in little signs.
There were Climates and Climate angels, Christians and the Trade Union choir. There was a young girl anti plastic bag demonstrator in a grey plastic bag dress. I saw the leader of our opposition Bill Shorten and his family, trailed by three policemen and the Climate Action wing of the Labour party.
I’ll vote for you I shouted. He made eye contact but I’m not sure he believed me.
“Ho Ho Ho!” we chanted.
“Fossil fuels have got to go,” and
“What do we want?”
“When do we want it.”
When we reached the steps of Parliament house, the organizers told us there were 50 thousand people here. So many of us. Why does no one listen? We struggle away wearing away our leaders like water wears away stone and inch slowly forward and we just have to keep going no matter how tired we get. .
All our hopes are on Paris 2015!!