By Pradeep Baisakh
As the leaders from more than 190 countries are about to meet in Paris for the Climate Summit (COP21), tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in more than 10 countries in Asia from 24-29th November for the Global Climate March to urge leaders to play their part in the fight against climate change by signing an ambitious climate agreement at the UN Climate Summit in Paris.
The impact of climate change is already affecting people in all corners of the world, with the most vulnerable being hit hardest. Storms are strengthening, droughts are lasting longer, and floods are worsening – all of which will make it much harder for affected communities to survive. A strong agreement in Paris could help poorer countries reduce carbon pollution and help vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.
From the Amazon to the megacities of the South, from the streets of America to the squares of Europe, from villages in Africa and Asia to low-lying island communities in the Pacific – in cities, towns and villages across the world citizens will be marching for change and highlighting how decisions in Paris will have an impact nationally.
Smruti Sweta, a green volunteer from India who participated in the climate march in New Delhi organised by action/2015India said “India has declared a 35% emission cuts under INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions). I expect that it implement the same. I expect some strong agreements from Paris climate conference from the leaders.”
In India, more that 140,000 people took to the streets today to raise awareness of the dangerous effects of climate change and demand climate action to protect the populations most vulnerable.In Bangladesh, rallies spread across the country with about 50,000 people walking on the streets. In Nepal, elephant march was done to highlight the adverse impact of climate change on the animals like elephant and rhinos etc. Para gliding was organised to highlight the issue of climate change and the COP 21 conference. In Mongolia, hundreds marched with masks to the Parliament to demand clean air, non-fossil fuel and 100% renewable energy. People in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia observed a ‘Car Free Day’ today morning demanding climate justice. And there were climate marches nationwide. In Pakistan, people marched expressing solidarity to the victims of terror attack in Paris and demanded to promote climate justice, tolerance & peace in planet. In Afghanistan similar marches were organized where 200 people participated.
More than 250,000 people participated in the online and on-the-ground mobilisation from the region.
Speaking on the occasion, Amitabh Behar, national anchor for action/2015 India, said:
“Addressing climate change, and ending poverty and inequalities are two sides of the same coin. We cannot deliver sustainable development without tackling climate change, and we cannot tackle climate change without addressing the root causes of poverty, inequality and unsustainable development patterns. If leaders want to fully implement the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals, aimed at tackling inequality and ending poverty within a generation, they will need to adopt and implement a transformative agenda at the COP21.”
Krishna Gautam of Ageing Nepal said, “ When we speak about climate change, we are speaking about the very survival of the planet. The earth should survive to nurture thousands of generations. And I am responsible for it like each of us. We should do our bit to slow down the effects of climate change and protect the planet.”
A new international climate agreement in Paris could set the stage for the achievement of the Global Goals in coming years and send a strong signal that the age of dirty fossil fuels is over. It can also set us on a path to a safer, fairer and more sustainable future for all.
The global climate campaign is organised by many civil society organisations across the globe, of which action/2015 campaign is quite an active player. Action/2015 is a growing citizens’ movement of more than 2,000 organizations, networks and coalitions from over 150 countries united by the belief that 2015 is a critical year for progress in the fight against climate change, poverty and inequality. The action/2015 movement mobilizes the public at critical decision making points to ensure that that as political leaders make decisions this year, they will feel the pressure of millions and millions of people calling on them to take ambitious action to secure a better future for people and planet.
The author works as the Asia Coordinator of Action/2015 campaign and works with Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) and based in New Delhi. He can be reached through e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com