On what may be the biggest day of climate change activism ever seen worldwide, tens of thousands of people marched as far afield as Sydney and Madrid on Sunday to send a message to leaders gathering for a UN summit: ‘Save our planet before it is too late’.
Point of view
We are here to defend our planet, to fight for a better place for our children to live in the future
More than 2,000 events were being held in cities including London, Sao Paulo and New York, on the eve of the Paris summit which runs from November 30 – December 11 and will be attended by about 150 heads of government.
Berlin was keen to do its bit, with some 17,000 people taking part in a rally in the German capital, according to organisers.
“A binding aim and clear plan of how we stay under the two degree target, that is what counts,” said one woman who had travelled to the event from Hamburg.
Anti-war campaigners joined a monster climate change march in London, as the UK weighs up whether to start bombing ISIL militants in Syria.
At least 50,000 people spent Sunday pounding the streets, say those behind the rally.
Passions were just as strong in the Spanish capital, with marchers in Madrid determined to take a stand for future generations.
“We are here to defend our planet, to fight for a better place for our children to live in the future,” said Greenpeace activist Jorge Puebla.
“We have caused too much damage to our planet in the last 30 years and I really don’t know if we are going to be able to recover it.”
In debt-burdened Greece, day to day difficulties are still high for many but in Athens thousands turned out to add their voice to calls for a legally-binding accord.
A human chain almost a kilometre long sent a message from climate change protesters in Brussels, with their planned march cancelled because of the terror threat in Belgium.
In Sydney, about 45,000 people are estimated to have marched through the central business district towards the Opera House.
Protesters held placards reading: “There is no Planet B” and “Say no to burning national forests for electricity” ahead of what many believe is a last-chance summit to prevent disaster.
US President Barack Obama and China’s Xi Jinping will be among the leaders attending the start of the summit, which organisers hope will produce a first legally-binding agreement to commit both rich and developing nations to curbing emissions of greenhouse gasses, blamed for warming the planet, beyond 2020.
Hopes are high that the Paris summit will not fail like the previous such meeting six years ago in Copenhagen.