Sunday, November 11, 2007

Walk Against Warming unites climate concerns, hopes for change

It was good to see the Smith Street tram packed today as I made my way to the Walk Against Warming with the kids in tow. When we parked ourselves under a shady tree outside the State Library, the banners hovering above the swelling crowd showed the diverse political platforms now unifying behind the cause of halting dangerous climate change. There were the Greens, of course, but also the Democrats, GetUp, the Socialists and anti-nuclear groups, The Big Switch guys, the Australian Conservation Foundation, and representatives from the dwindling numbers of the orange bellied parrot – in their faux-feather costumes on a very sunny day they certainly were warming to their task, and good on them for their commitment.

I even saw a comprehensively sun-tanned former deputy premier in the ranks, though no ALP or Coalition banners anywhere. Perhaps the major parties were simultaneously ashamed and hedging their bets with conservative voters. While their media statements suggest a (varying) willingness to tackle the problem, in true me-too spirit, they were perhaps unwilling to go so far as to be caught sweating on the asphalt with those openly committed to facing the problem head-on.

The really great thing about today was seeing people from the bus I catch, from my kids' school – people I don't know that well who I would never guess care about global warming, but obviously do. Today was a day not only to demonstrate numbers, but for people to openly acknowledge to each other what they care about. True, their concerns are too often split between state and federal seats, but with the rising temperatures sentiment is rising across electoral boundaries that is capable of significant impact. That is cause for hope in the fight against climate change. As one rap went today, 'Show me what democracy looks like: This is what democracy looks like!'.

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