Rain and wind didn't deter hundreds from joining rallies in Newcastle and Durham in support of the Day of Action for Climate Justice. The protests took place as the eyes of the world watched a day of vital negotiations at COP28 in Dubai - most keenly, about tougher commitments on fossil fuel reductions. You can see the event video here. #NowWeRise
Rally speakers outside Newcastle Civic Centre included Helen Redfern (Extinction Rebellion North East), Jamie Driscoll (North of Tyne Mayor); Jacky Doran (NE Climate Justice Coalition); Saul
Cahill (PCS union); Julie Ward, Alison Stancliffe (No to Hassockfield); Stuart Hill (Palestone Solidarity Campaign); Gwen Lewis-Hedley (youth climate activist) and Sarah Peters (Young Greens).
Helen Redfern condemned world leaders for "fiddling while Rome burns". She urged people who care not to be afraid of getting involved and taking action - everyone can be a "superhero" and make a difference. A new Climate People's Assembly will meet on 27 January at the Star and Shadow in Newcastle - and, like mycelium, this will connect with activism around the world.
Jacky Doran spoke on behalf of event organisers - North East Climate Justice Coalition. Here is her speech, and you can watch the video of it below.
"The Climate Justice Coalition campaign around this 28th UN climate conference is #NowWeRise. Twenty-eight years of these conferences and still:
Temperatures are rising – 2023 will be the hottest year on record. We all know about the extreme weather events all over the world and we are experiencing them here too. We can see the devastation of nature and the planet caused by fire, flood and storms
Corporate Profits are still rising – by 2040 we will be producing 173% more energy from fossil fuels than we will actually need. And still we see Rishi Sunak announcing a further 100 licences for even more fossil fuel extraction.
The Climate Crisis is also a Health crisis. If we stop burning fossil fuels not only can we keep temperature rises nearer to the goal of 1.5 degrees above pre–industrial levels but we can breathe clean air, reduce disease and keep healthy people contributing to their
societies across the world.
If COP28 fails again to agree to phase out fossil fuels then we have no other option but to RISE UP.
I’m a grandma and I know many other grandmas and grandpas who are already Rising Up and even risking arrest to demand a future for their children and grandchildren.
Millions of other people less fortunate than most of us, cannot rise up because of war, dictatorships or because they struggle daily just to stay alive.
Rise up in your local communities to demand a better, cleaner fairer way of living powered by renewable energy, creating sustainable jobs and putting people and nature first.
Rise up demanding our politicians work together (like we do) to set long term goals to meet our demands.
Rise up for those already feeling the real effects of the climate crisis and make sure the money pledged to the Loss and Damage fund at COP28 is actually paid in and used to support the global south.
So will you rise up???? Let me hear you – will you rise up ???
So COP 28 hear our voices – to quote King Charles: "how dangerous are you actually prepared to make our world?"
UK politicians, hear our voices – 2024 is election year and we expect the climate to be in the forefront of all your manifestos.
And to the people already suffering
around the world – we want you to know:
WE HEAR YOU.
We are fighting for you.
We will rise up."
Watch the video:::