Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Goodbye and Good Riddance – April 2023

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024

Goodbye and Good Riddance – April 2023: Continuing from yesterday’s post some more pictures from 2013, from my albums on Facebook from April 2003.

Goodbye and Good Riddance
Good Friday in Staines. 7 April 2023.
Christians in Staines, as in many other towns and cities across the UK, take part in a Good Friday procession of witness through the town centre. Led by a man carrying a large wooden cross and the Staines Salvation Army Band people from churches in Staines, Ashford and Laleham walked past shops and market stalls to an outdoor service in the Two Rivers Shopping Centre with hymns, prayers, religious songs and a short address. Peter Marshall
Goodbye and Good Riddance
Fight4Aylesbury Exhibition – Friday 14 April 2023
An exhbition in Aysen’s council flat on the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark to celebrate 20+ years of housing struggles for housing justice and against gentrification, social cleansing and demolition of social housing. Her flat has been transformed into a living exhibition with flyers, posters, video, audio and installations on housing struggles. Peter Marshall
Goodbye and Good Riddance
Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’ London, UK. 21 Apr 2023.
On the first day of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’ people march past Parliament calling for an end to airport expansion. Air travel is hugely polluting and expansion would make it impossible to meet the targets needed to prevent disastrous global warming and climate change. Peter Marshall
Goodbye and Good Riddance
Care 4 People & Planet, London. 21 April 2023.
On the first day of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’, women hold an open speakout opposite Downing St with the banner ‘Care 4 People & Planet – Pay US NOT billionaire polluters”. Women are being targeted by government cuts in mothers and disabled benefits to force them back into employment while they support fossil fuel polluters and other destructive industries. Young people and women have been at the forefront of the movement for climate justice around the world. Peter Marshall
Peoples’ Pickets for ‘The Big One’, London. 21 April 2023.
On the first day of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’ people picketed at a number of short protests outside government ministries and other government buildings in central Westminster. Peter Marshall
More From ‘The Big One‘, London. 21 Apr 2023.
Many thousands came to Westminster to take part in the first of 4 days of Extinction Rebellion’s protest demanding the government reverse policies that are fuelling climate change with new coal mines and oil fields and encouraging aviation. The protesters say their corruption has wrecked the economy, education system and our NHS, increased fuel costs and cut living standards while they blame poor families, people of colour, and new immigrants. Peter Marshall
XR Earth Day Unite For Nature March, London. 22 Apri 2023
Many thousands of Extinction Rebellion supporters march from a rally outside Westminster Abbey on Earth Day to honour and respect the natural world and all endangered species. Led in blocks by drummers they stopped at several points to play birdsong loudly on all their phones. So many took part that the silent die-in for species lost and under threat planned for Parliament Square spread from Lambeth Bridge to St James’s Park. Peter Marshall
Extinction Rebellion Procession Against Incinerators, London. 24th April 2023.
A procession sets off from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) to march to DEFRA calling for plans to build more waste incinerators to be dropped and existing ones to be closed down. The call for a massive reduction in waste through reuse, recycling and composting and an end to polluting carbon dioxide producing waste burning. The procession included a Stop HS2 elephant, mimes, drummers and a large model incinerator. Peter Marshall
XR End Fossil Fuels March, London. 24 April 2023.
Greenwash Carbon Capture & Storage team. On the final day of XR’s The Big One, several thousands marched from Parliament Square past Downing St and along the Strand, crossing over Waterloo Bridge to end with a protest in front of the Shell Centre. The march demanded no future for fossil fuels. Peter Marshall
Black Lives Matter Protest State Racism, London, 29 April 2023.
The march begins. Black Lives Matter lead a rally and march from Home Office to Whitehall calling for unity and action against the state racist Borders Act, the anti-democratic Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and the fascist Public Order Bill. They were joined for the march by Just Stop Oil. Among the speakers were Holly, the partner of Marcus jailed for 2yrs 7months for his protest on the Dartford Crossing, who also sang. Peter Marshall
Iranians Continue Protests For Regime Change, London 29 Apr 2023.
Several thousand Iranians and supporters marched to Whitehall and formed a dense crowd opposite Downing St for a rally in solidarity with protesters in Iran calling for the end of rule by Mullahs. The called for the UK to declare the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC a terrorist organisation. Peter Marshall
Sudanese Call For Peace in Sudan, London 29 Apr 2023
The Sudanese Revolutionary Movement protest opposite Downing St, calls for an end to the war between generals in Khartoum and the genocide in Darfur. The people want peace, democracy and justice in Sudan. Peter Marshall

More pictures from these and other protests in March 2023 in my Facebook Albums.


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Climate Emergency Rally & Wave – 2009

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023

Climate Emergency Rally & Wave – Saturday 5th December 2009 was probably the day of possibly the largest protest then in the UK over the impending disaster of climate change. Over a hundred organisations had come together in the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition representing a combined membership of around 11 million “from the Women’s Institute and RSPB to Christian Aid and Unison.”

Climate Emergency Rally & Wave - Saturday 5th December 2009

This is the group which now calls itself less contentiously The Climate Coalition and organises a ‘Great Big Green Week‘ which slipped by last June without me noticing it (and I belong to several of the organisations it includes.) It’s good that a wider group is concerned about climate change, but the action over the ever increasing crisis has passed on to others such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.

Climate Emergency Rally & Wave - Saturday 5th December 2009

The next Great Big Green Week is 8th – 16th June 2024 and it would be good to see some real action, stopping down polluters, mass protests, creating news headlines every day. With now a combined supporter base of 20 million and with sister organisations in Wales, Scotland and Ireland they should be able to achieve a major impact.

Climate Emergency Rally & Wave - Saturday 5th December 2009

The Campaign Against Climate Change had organised an annual Climate match at the time of the UN Climate talks every year since 2005 and although it was good to see a wider participation despite that huge potential and massive publicity the march was perhaps only a little more than five times the size of previous years. And the 2009 event, entitled ‘The Wave’ did seem more a stunt for the media than an informed political event. As I commented, “Surely with the backing of 11 million the coalition should be making demands, not just waving, and it’s perhaps hard to see the significance of blue hands and faces in a demonstration about global warming.” Red would perhaps have been a more appropriate colour choice than the coolest of colours.

Climate Emergency Rally & Wave - Saturday 5th December 2009

Campaign Against Climate Change began the event with a rally at Hyde Park with speakers giving a clear political message, which I summarised in my account on My London Diary:

They stress we really need to take emergency action in the UK now, starting with the declaration of a Climate Emergency. Immediate actions should include a 10% cut in carbon dioxide by the end of 2010, a million new green jobs by the end of 2010, a ban on domestic flights, the scrapping of the roads program and a 55 mph speed limit, and an end to the use of agrofuels.

My London Diary

But the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition had absented themselves from this and met instead in Grosvenor Square, joining with those from the rally to march to surround the Houses of Parliament in ‘The Wave.’ And on a Saturday of course there were not even any MPs there to wave at – and only a few had come to take part in the protest.

More interesting things were happening on the fringes of the main event, and in some of the groups on the march, and I covered as much as I could of this, though I did miss the Climate Camp protesters who took over Trafalgar Square, who I visited briefly a couple of days later.

Rather separate from the main march was an ironic protest by around 50 people dressed as city traders representing the World Association of Carbon Traders.

The City gents including a few ‘gentesses’ and rather more bad false moustaches along with some power-dressed business women marched under the banner ‘Carbon Trading: The Final Solution‘ in a rather nasty yellow, perhaps meant to be gold, though it seemed more mustard to me.

The WACT logo – ‘CO2$’ and placards including ‘Trust Me, I’m a Banker, Capitalise On The Climate’, ‘In Markets We Trust’, ‘One Solution. Trade Pollution’, ‘Greed is Green’, ‘Carbon Trader = Eco Crusader.’ and ‘Cash In On Climate Change’, as well as the ‘Permits to Pollute’ they were handing out made their ironic intention clear, though some tourists on the pavements seemed very confused.

I recognised them despite their disguises as the Space Hijackers whose activities over the years had given a new creative face to protest; here they gave a welcome touch of ironic humour and substance to what was perhaps otherwise a rather bland if colourful event that often seemed more like a PR media stunt than a political demonstration.

Their message was of course a serious one. Carbon trading is at best an irrelevance in environmental terms, allowing ‘business as usual’ and with fat profits for some. But worse, as with all markets, it is a mechanism for allowing the wealthy to increase their domination at the expense of the poor.

Other groups also came with a serious political message, if sometimes also expressed rather rudely. For a short distance the main march was led by a black banner with the message ‘POLARIARIAT! UP YER BUM, COP 15!’ and a picture of a Polar Bear, threatened as arctic ice sheets melt and disintegrate. Stewards from the march soon came and argued with them to leave and after police intervention they moved a long way back in the march joining a few other like-minded groups. The quote from the 1987 film ‘Wish You Were Here‘ clearly didn’t fit the smooth PR presentation of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition.

Finally it was 3pm and time to wave and I was with protesters in front of Big Ben to register the time.

Some people stayed on and continued to protest in Parliament Square for another hour or so. Among them were Climate Rush whose banners were calling for Equity “EMISSION QUOTAS MUST BE PER CAPITA. THE RICH HAVE NO MORE RIGHT TO POLLUTE THAN THE POOR”. As I commented this is something that the rich – and in particular the USA – don’t accept and which was likely to prevent any real progress in the talks at Copenhagen.

I took a great many pictures over the day, and put rather too many of them on My London Diary, along with rather more accounts than usual, including some things I’ve not mentioned here. The links are roughly in the order of events:
Climate Emergency Bike Ride
Climate Emergency Rally
The Wave – Before the March
Anticapitalist Block
World Association of Carbon Traders
Marching to the Wave
The Wave
COP Out Camp Out


Climate Justice, Congo & London – 2011

Sunday, December 3rd, 2023

Climate Justice, Congo & London – On Saturday 3rd December 2011 there was an Xmas shopping event in the City, normally pretty dead at weekends and Occupy were holding climate justice workshops before joining Campaign Against Climate Change’s annual march. That took me past a protest at Downing Street against the vote-rigging in the recent election in the DRC. I’d taken some pictures earlier as I was going around London and took a few more in the dark later on my way to an event in Acton.


City Xmas Celebrations – Bank

Climate Justice, Congo & London
A live musical box

There was a special Xmas Saturday shopping event in the centre of the City of London which usually closes down for the weekend, but I think it was aimed more at the wealthy 1% than me.

Climate Justice, Congo & London
Santa had come with real reindeer

I wouldn’t normally have gone but it was on my fastest route to St Paul’s Cathedral and it was the first time the City had held such an event. Though unless there were rather more visitors later in the day it would probably be the last. I didn’t feel welcome and didn’t stay long.

More – including reindeer – at City Xmas Celebrations.


Occupy LSX Climate Justice Workshops – St Paul’s Cathedral steps

Climate Justice, Congo & London

Occupy London was still camping next to St Paul’s Cathedral, having been there since 15th October, and they were holding workshops when I arrived about various aspects of climate justice and campaigning, and preparing banners and posters for the Climate Justice march later in the day.

Climate Justice, Congo & London

They planned to make their way to the start of the march in a ‘Climate Walk of Shame’ around the offices of various climate change villians (‘unsavoury sites of climate criminality’) in the City.

As often with Occupy, the plenary session went on longer than anticipated. Many people wanted to contribute and some at rather greater length than necessary and the walk began rather late.

I’d hoped to be able to go with them, but only went as far as their first stop at one of the banks in St Paul’s Churchyard before I had to leave to make my own more direct way to the start of the march in Blackfriars.

Occupy LSX Climate Justice Workshops


Stand Up For Climate Justice – Blackfriars to Old Palace Yard

Around a thousand people gathered at Blackfriars for the march organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change to a rally opposite the Houses of Parliament.

Climate talks were taking place in the 17th UN conference in Durban, but seemed unlikely to make much progreess as the US were continuing to refuse to accept mandatory limits on carbon emissions. It seemed likely this would prevent any progress on global reductions in emissions, and seemed certain to lead to catastrophic increases in global temperature. Or, as I put it “bluntly, our planet is going to fry.”

While Barbara Boxer the head of the Senate environment committee was pointing out that the US is the world’s largest historic emitter and thus has a moral obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the US right, and the ‘Tea Party’ movement in particular, were still denying the existence of climate change and vehemently opposing any restrictions on the emissions of US industry.

By 2011 there had long been no serious scientific debate about the reality of climate change, though still some controversy about the exact magnitude and the timescales involved. But all informed opinion agreed that urgent action is needed, though the heavily funded fossil fuel lobby was still spreading lies and opposing any action.

Since 2011 things have become even more clear and the effects have become worse than even the more pessimistic scientists then predicted. But still politicians are not taking the urgent actions needed, and limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C now seems impossible.

Among many speakers was John Stewart of HACAN who pointed out that while the richest 7% who cause 50% of the world’s pollution, aircraft use, one of the major sources of emissions, is limited to an even more limited group of the world’s population, with only 5% of the world’s population ever having flown.

More at Stand Up For Climate Justice.


Congolese Protest Against Kabila Vote-Rigging – Downing St

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is both blessed and cursed by its immense mineral resouces, probably the richest of any country in the world, including 80% of the world’s cobalt reserves, and between 65-80% of coltan, the mineral from which tantalum capacitors, vital for mobile phones, games consoles, computers and other electronic devices are made.

Despite this wealth of the DRC, the people remain some of the poorest in the world, and because of these minerals the country is one of the most corrupt in the world. The move towards renewable energy and the increasing need for batteries for electrical vehicles has led to increased geopolitical competition over the DRC’s cobalt resources.

The area has been the subject of various wars and there is still conflict as well as widespread violation of humanitarian and human rights law, including the sexual abuse of women and children.

The Kabila regime has been kept in office by western interests who have now turned a blind eye to the widespread vote-rigging violence and fraud in the elections. The opposition later claimed to have outvoted Kabila with 54% of the vote to his 26%, while Kabila claimed to have won by 49% to 32%.

In 2019, the son of the candidate thee protesters say won the 2011 election became President in the first peaceful transition of power since the DRC became independent but the early years of his presidency were still with governments dominated by supporters of Kabila. In 2021 he was able to form a new government which among other measures has promised to reverse deforestation in the DRC by 2030.

More at Congolese Protest Against Kabila Vote-Rigging.


London Wandering – City and North Acton

I’d taken a few views of London as I walked with the Climate March.

And in the early evening I went to an event in North Acton, walking to the venue from Willesden Junction. There are just a few more on-line at London Wandering.


Climate, Pay & Pensions – 2019

Wednesday, November 29th, 2023

Climate, Pay & Pensions – Friday 29th November 2019 was ‘Black Friday’ for some but for others it was ‘Buy Nothing Day’ and Climate Strike students were on the march, while separately University lecturers and others in the UCU along with students and other supporters were marching to Parliament in support of their 8 day strike over pensions, pay and conditions.


Youth Climate Strike March

Climate, Pay & Pensions

Over a thousand mainly school students met in Parliament Square to demand the government and other governments world-wide take urgent action to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

Climate, Pay & Pensions

They demanded a Green New Deal to save their future and for the school curriculum to make clear the urgent need for changes in attitudes and action.

Climate, Pay & Pensions

Of course their protest fell on deaf ears in the Tory government, and although it did seem for some time that the Labour opposition was beginning to think seriously about the environmental crisis, as it seems more likely they might get into power their climate polices for a https://www.labourgnd.uk/gnd-explained Green New Deal are rapidly being abandoned and it now seems they are “unlikely to meet its £28bn green pledge at all.”

Climate, Pay & Pensions

Well over a thousand marched up Whitehall and on through Trafalgar Square to Regent Street, intending to go to Oxford Street on ‘Buy Nothing Day’, but police stopped them on Regent Street and diverted them into Mayfair and eventually back to Whitehall and Parliament Square.

Earlier they had been met by a group of XR’s ‘Red Brigade’ mimes who had come to salute the student march.

Many more pictures at Youth Climate Strike March.


UCU March for Planet, Pay and Pensions

The UCU march from London University was on the 4th day of their 8 day strike over pensions, pay and conditions and in solidarity with the Youth Climate Strike also taking place in London the same day.

Some had been on the picket lines since the early morning before the march began in Malet Street.

I saw the march as I came back from Regent Street where I had left the student march as I came on to the North Terrace of Trafalgar Square, and ran down to catch up with the front of the march on Whitehall, close to Downing St.

The march stopped there for some time, lining the road opposite the entrance to Downing St and shouting towards it, before moving on towards Parliament.

As well as their call for proper working conditions and better pay many of the marchers also came calling for changes in what is taught and with posters and placards about climate change. Some had already marched to support the students.

They then marched on to Parliament Square, where I left them as they moved towards a rally.

More pictures UCU March for Planet, Pay and Pensions.


AxeDrax Wood Burning & Student Housing

Thursday, October 19th, 2023

AxeDrax Wood Burning & Student Housing: Today, 19th October, is the International Day of Action Against Big Biomass (IDoA) calling for an end to climate-wrecking tree burning in power stations, and I hope to be attending a protest in London at Barclay’s Bank in Canary Wharf at noon calling for an end of the £billions in subsidies given to the world’s biggest tree burner, Drax, for burning trees and polluting communities. In 2016 I photographed a protest against Drax and another against providers of high cost (and high profit) housing for students.


AxeDrax protest against Biomass & Coal – Westminster

AxeDrax Wood Burning & Student Housing

Back on Wednesday 19th Oct 2016 protesters came to the newly formed Dept of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to urge the government to end the green subsidies to Drax as scientific research had make it clear that producing electricity from Biofuels is harmful to the climate, forests, biodiversity and people.

AxeDrax Wood Burning & Student Housing

Biofuel Watch and London Biomassive, both part of the Axe Drax campaign had brought with them posters, banners and a cooling tower and were accompanied by the Draxosaurus dinosaur.

AxeDrax Wood Burning & Student Housing

They demanded the government end the £600million a year subsidy Drax gets for its polluting activities and spend the money on measures such as building insulation to cut demand for electricity and to support the use of real low-carbon renewable electricity generation.

AxeDrax Wood Burning & Student Housing

Drax is an old and inefficient power generator, built for coal, still used in two of its six boilers in 2016, though in April 2023 they announced using coal had come to an end. The four boilers converted to wood pellet use waste 60% of the energy created in waste heat to the atmosphere and into the cooling water taken from and discharged into the nearby river Ouse. Without the huge annual subsidies it gets from our electricity bills it would not be viable. It should be closed as soon as possible and its workers trained for new green jobs which the huge subsidies currently spent on keeping this highly polluting facility open could provide.

As well as being generously awarded for adding excessive amounts of carbon and thus increasing global temperatures, Drax also creates large amounts of highly dangerous particulates, releasing over 400 tons a year into the environment in the UK. And Drax also creates environmental havoc in the areas which supply its wood – and until 2023, coal.

Much of the wood comes from destroying forests in the Southeast of the United States, and Drax also supplies wood to be burnt in other countries. It has mills to turn freshly cut trees into wood pellets in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Planting the monoculture pine forests needed to supply these has been at the expense of the clear cut felling of older diverse forests and replacing them with sterile plantations with little undergrowth and wildlife.

Drax also buys wood pellets from the world’s largest pellet producer Enviva which cuts down large areas of highly diverse coastal hardwood forests in the US with an incredible loss of bio-diversity. Similar environment degradation and destruction of habitats is taking place in other countries around the world where Drax sources pellets. Their transportation to Drax also produces large amounts of carbon dioxide.

The pellet plants which produce wood largely from whole trees and complete felling of large forest areas to be burnt at Drax also generate huge amounts of air pollution both at Drax in Yorkshire and Drax at the US pellet plants were Drax has had to pay large fines for this. Most of these plants are in deprived, majority-Black communities.

At the protest at the BEIS we heard a from a Colombian woman about the calamitous effect of open-cast coal-mining at the giant open-pit Cerrejón coal mine in La Guajira, northern Colombia. jointly owned by Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata.

Drax may now have ended burning coal and imports ended in 2020, but following the closure of UK mines all of the coal burnt there came from abroad, including from Colombia.

The Cerrejón mine is in Wayúu indigenous territory and the local people were not consulted when mining began there 30 years ago. Their land was simply seized and communities forcibly displaced in violation of their constitutional land rights and there was no proper compensation. Pollution and dust from the coal mine continues to contaminate the air and water supplies badly affecting traditional lifestyles; soil pollution leads to failed crops, and fishing areas have been contaminated.

Drax also had a carbon capture and storage project for its biomass plants, but this is only based on very limited trials and seems highly unlikely to ever have a significant effect, not least because the necessary infrastructure for the removal and storage of any carbon dioxide captured seems unlikely ever to be available. And by the time both the removal and disposal could possibly be implemented on any scale there will be absolutely no economic justification for retaining expensive sources of power such as wood burning rather than very much cheaper renewable generation.

AxeDrax protest against Biomass & Coal


Student Rent Strike protest – Holborn

I went on from the BEIS protest to Russell Square where students were meeting to discuss student housing. Once halls of residence were largely an at-cost service provided by universities, but have now become big business for private developers.

After some speeches they marched behind the #RENTSTRIKE banner to briefly occupy the nearby office of Unite Students, a FTSE 250 company housing around 50,000 students in the UK.

The event was a part of a nationwide series of protests taking place as investors and developers were discussing the rich profits to be made from students at the MIPIM conference, the world’s largest real estate market event in Cannes.

Many of the large new blocks of student housing have flats with rents larger than the entire student loan, higher than all but students from very wealthy families can afford, and are largely for letting to rich overseas students studying here.

More pictures at Student Rent Strike protest.


Martydom of Ali & Cut the Carbon

Saturday, September 30th, 2023

Martydom of Ali & Cut the Carbon: Two unconnected events in London on Sunday 30th September 2007. I photographed a Muslim festival in Park Lane before making my way to Battersea where a long march organised by Christian Aid around Britain was resting before its final push to the City of London calling for urgent action to cut our carbon emissions. Sixteen years ago it was already clear we needed to do this to avoid climate catastrophe – but our government has clearly not yet got the message with its recent decisions, including giving the go ahead to exploit the Rosebank field.


Mourning the Martrydom of Ali – Marble Arch

Martydom of Ali & Cut the Carbon

Ali Ibn Abi Talib grew up in the household of the prophet Muhammad and was the first male to profess his belief in his guardian’s divine revelation.

Martydom of Ali & Cut the Carbon

Later he married Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah and became a great warrior and leader and also one of the foremost Islamic scholars. He was made Caliph after the previous Calip was assassinated, and was then himself assassinated while praying in the mosque at Kufa, Iraq dying a few days later on the 21st of Ramadan in 661CE.

Martydom of Ali & Cut the Carbon

Revered by all Muslims, he is particularly celebrated by Shia, who regard him as second only in importance to Muhammad, and celebrate his martydom annually, including in a colourful march on the streets of London.

Martydom of Ali & Cut the Carbon

They gathered in front of Marble Arch for a lengthy period of mourning before a ceremonial coffin was carried out and men and women rushed to touch it. People began to beat their breasts, the men with extreme force and the women very much more decorously.

Eventually they formed into a procession and moved off down Park Lane, with much continued mourning and beating of breasts, led by a tall banner about Ali, then the men, followed by the ceremonial bier and finally the by the women with more banners.

Although the men were happy to be photographed, some were concerned that I also photographed the women taking part in this and other similar events. But after putting the photographs from events like this on-line I received e-mails from some of the women in them thanking me for having recorded their participation.

I left the marchers as they moved down Park Lane. The procession continues for some hours, moving slowly and then returning to Marble Arch but I had to go to Battersea.

Many more pictures beginning at on My London Diary.


Cut The Carbon March: Christian Aid – St Mary’s Battersea

The ‘Cut The Carbon March’ organised by Christian Aid called for the UK and the world to take urgent action to reduce the carbon emissions which are leading to a catastrophic global warming which was already threatening the lives and livelihoods of many around the world, particularly in the Global South.

Clearly all countries needed to take urgent action to avoid the growing catastrophe, and countries such as the UK with higher per capita carbon footprints need to take a lead in this as well as helping other less industrialised countries to do so. We have benefited from a couple of hundred years of carbon-dirty industrial growth which has brought to world to the brink.

The marchers, including a number of international participants, had begun in Northern Ireland in July, moving on to Scotland, England and Wales on a thousand mile route through major cities which were listed on the back of the t-shirts worn by the marchers. The march was intended to convince people of the necessity to cut carbon emissions from the UK and globally. As well as marching there were events at their stops on the route, including a visit to the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth where they had met with then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Many others had joined the core marchers, walking with them for short sections of the route and providing hospitality at churches along the way. They were stopping in Battersea and taking part in an evening service in St Mary’s there before the final day of the march which was to end at St Paul’s Cathedral on October 1st.

I was late and the marchers had arrived at St Mary’s just I few minutes before me and were enjoying a rest in its riverside churchyard. Later some talked about the march and why they had given up their summer to take part in it as it was so vital that the UK and the world take serious action.

We were reminded that some of the world’s lower-lying countries were being threatened by the sea level rise from global warming, with ice-caps melting as a high Spring tide began to flood parts of the churchyard, but fortunately stopped with only a few large puddles at one side. But the sea-level will continue to rise and make some whole island countries uninhabitable as well as large areas of others already subject to flooding.

More recently we are also now seeing the effects of global heating and climate instability clearly in the UK, Europe and North America with record high temperatures, huge forest wild fires and odd weather patterns affecting crop yields. But the fossil fuel companies are still huge lobbyists and contributors to party funds and still our UK government, while paying lip-service to zero carbon in the rather distant future of 2050, continues to pump up the carbon with new coal, gas and oil exploitation. Total madness.

But this was a fine September evening and St Mary’s is a fine listed building and I was pleased yet again to take a tour inside and admire its architecture, fine monuments and modern stained glass windows for both William Blake and Joseph Mallord Turner who knew it well, as well as the riverside views.

More pictures on My London Diary


As well as the pictures you can see what I wrote about these events at the time near the bottom of the September 2007 page of My London Diary.


Climate March & Open House 2014

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Climate March & Open House: On Sunday 21st September 2014 I photographed the so-called ‘Peoples Climate March’ in central London before going to party with Focus E15 Mothers on the Carpenters Estate where they celebrated a year of their fight to be rehoused in the area.


Peoples Climate March – Embankment

Climate March & Open House

As in this week in 2023, a Climate Summit was taking place in New York in September 2014 and marches were taking place in London and elsewhere to demand divestment in fossil fuels and an end to the domination of politics by the fossil fuel industry which has blocked action against climate change.

Climate March & Open House

Little has actually changed in the 9 years since then. More empty words and promises but too many governments including our own in the UK continuing to encourage exploration for more gas and oil and even approving new coal mines. And carbon levels continue to rise, with at least a 2 degree rise in global temperature now seeming inevitable.

Climate March & Open House

What has changed is that we are all much more aware that climate change is real and are feeling its effects. While many in the Global South have been suffering for years, we in Europe and North America have now felt the new record high temperatures and seen the increasing wild fires and unstable weather caused by global temperature rise.

Last Saturday I photographed another Climate March in London, and it had a rather more serious and committed air than the 2014 event, not just because it was organised by Extinction Rebellion, but because the global situation has worsened, with new an disturbing reports coming out almost weekly.

Climate March & Open House

Back in 2014 I wrote about some length about the march and how it “seemed to have been rather taken over by various slick and rather corporate organisations rather than being a ‘people’s march’ and seemed to lack any real focus.”

Climate March & Open House

Then I commented that “There was one block – the ‘‘Fossil Free Block’ that I felt was worth supporting, and what the whole march should have been about. We have to stop burning oil, coal, gas. We are certainly on our way to disastrous climate change if we fail to severely cut carbon emissions, and probably need to actually reverse some of the rise that has already occurred. Drastic action really is needed.”

The 2023 march was behind a banner ‘NO NEW FOSSIL FUELS’ and another read ‘BIG OIL HAS FRIED US ALL’. But it didn’t get the kind of corporate support of the 2014 event and I don’t think there were any celebrities on the march, though I think some spoke at the rally afterwards, but I had left before this.

Worryingly in 2023 it was much smaller than the 2014 March. Back in 2014 I still felt there was time to avert catastrophe, but now I’m rather less optimistic. It may be too late. I have a feeling that in another nine years time we will be marching again, world leaders will still be talking and doing little and the world will be descending into chaos. Given my age it may still see me out but I worry about those younger.

More on My London Diary at Peoples Climate March.


Focus E15 Open House Day

I left well before the end of the march in 2014 too, catching the Underground to Stratford to get to the Carpenters Estate in Stratford where Focus E15 Mothers were celebrating the first anniversary of their fight against LB Newham’s failure to provide local housing for local people.

It was a year since Newham Council had cut funding for their hostel in Stratford run by East Thames Housing and they had been given eviction notices. Newham, which had a statutory duty to rehouse them told them it would be in private rental property miles away in Birmingham or Hastings or Wales but they wanted to stay within reach of families, jobs support services and friends in London.

Unlike many others they decided to fight the council, and launched an active and successful campaign, later widening their personal fight into “a wider campaign for housing for all, for social housing in London and an end to the displacement of low income households from the capital, with the slogan ‘Social Housing not Social Cleansing’.”

Despite the desperate shortage of social housing in Newham, the council led by Mayor Robin Wales had been trying to sell off its Carpenters Estate for ten years, moving people out and leaving good homes empty. The estate is next door to Stratford Station and Bus Station and so has excellent transport links making it very desirable for development. It is a post-war estate with large numbers of good quality low-rise housing along with three tower blocks. By 2014, most of the properties had “been boarded up for years, empty while thousands wait on the council’s housing list.

Carpenters Estate June 2014

In June 2014 I’d come with Focus E15 to the estate and had photographed them pasting up large photographs of themselves on some boarded up flats with slogans such as ‘This home needs a family‘ and ‘This family needs a home‘ and ‘These homes need people‘. I’d been told something intersting might happen at the party and wasn’t surprised when after a noisy session by a samba band to mask the sounds of removing some of the metal shutters at the rear of the flats we saw some of the E15 mums and supporters waving at us from a first floor window.

“It was Open House Day in London and courtesy of the Focus E15 Mums, 80-86 Dorian Walk was now one of the houses open to the public, even if not on the official lists, and we formed an orderly queue in best Open House tradition to go in and look at the four flats.

I was surprised to see what good conditions the flats were in, “fitted kitchens and bathrooms still in good working order – with running water, wallpaper and carpets almost pristine, and the odd piece of abandoned furniture. In one of kitchens, the calendar from 2004 was still on the wall, a reminder that while Londoners are desperate for housing, Newham council has kept this and other perfectly habitable properties empty for ten years.”

Focus E15 occupied the flats for a couple of weeks, leaving after the the Council issued legal eviction notices but their fight continued. Most of them have been rehoused in London and they have supported many others in Newham and neighbouring boroughs to get proper treatment from the council and prevent evictions. Their actions saved the Carpenters Estate and it is now being regenerated, although the plans don’t satisfy many of the groups demands. Their campaigns for housing for people in Newham continue.

More on My London Diary at Focus E15 Open House Day.


Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More: My work on Saturday May 23rd 2009 began with a march in North London before coming down to a couple of protests at Downing Street and then a march from Trafalgar Square to New Scotland Yard against police violence.


March to Defend Jobs, Services and Education – Highbury Fields to Archway

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

Around 1500 jobs had been lost recently in North London, including around 550 mainly support workers from London Metropolitan University, 500 civil servants from Archway tower and more at City University, where adult education is under threat.

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

Trade unionists from the Islington National Union of Teachers, the Public & Commercial Services Union, London Metropolitan University Unison and the University and College Union and other local groups including GiK-DER Refugee Workers Cultural Association were marching from Highbury Fields to a rally at Archway in protest against these job cuts.

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

The cuts in education threaten courses and also the provisions including nurseries that enable many mature students who missed out on education to study and get qualifications later in life.

Jobs, Services & Education, Police Violence & More

Speakers at the rally after the march included those from the UCU, CWU, London Metropolitan University, PCS, Islington Trades Council and local Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn.

More at March to Defend Jobs, Services & Education.


Southern Yemenis Demonstrate For a Separate State – Downing St


The state of Yemen has a long and complex history dating back to ancient times which is dealt with at some length on Wikipedia.

In the 19th century Britain attacked and occupied Aden and the surrounding region with the rest of the country being under the Ottoman Empire. In the 1960s a civil war in the north and a revolt against British rule in the south led to the foundation of two independent states, the Yemen Arab Republic in the north and the People’s Democractic Republic of Yemen in the south, who went to war with each other in 1972. After a ceasefire brokered by the Arab League and a further civil war the two countries were merged in 1990.

This London protest followed protests in Aden a week earlier on the 15th anniversary of an unsuccessful attempt by the southern Yemen leader Ali Salem al-Beidh to end the union with the north, which led to the 1994 civil war, lost by the South.

The protest was organised by Southern Yemenis from the Southern Democratic Assembly (TAJ), based in London who want an end to the union and accuse the Yemeni government of grabbing land and property and human rights abuses. They called for an end to the union with the north.

More at Southern Yemenis Demonstrate.


Rev Billy Performs at Downing St – Downing St

The Reverend Billy and his ‘Life After Shopping’ Gospel choir from New York were in London on their 2009 UK Shopocalypse Tour and gave a brief performance in front of the gates of Downing St.

Police were not impressed and obviously had no idea of who the Reverend was as in response to his questions the officer concerned was diagnosed by Billy as having a “shopping problem.”

The Church of Life After Shopping believes that we need to “back away from the product” and resist the way that advertising and the media persuade us to live only thorough consuming corporate products, and get down to experiencing life directly.

Excessive consumption is clearly at the root of climate change and the demand for incessant economic growth is clearly a long term impossibility in a finite planet. We need to be planning for a fairer sharing of resources between rich and majority worlds and an economy based on sustainability rather than growth – which will clearly mean lower levels of wasteful consumption and a concentration on necessities rather than luxuries.

As Billy made clear, following the G20 summit and the pathetic waste and greed shown in the continuing parliamentary allowances scandal, our government and MPs are clearly in need of the Life After Shopping Gospel.

Rev Billy Performs at Downing St


National Demonstration against Police Violence – Trafalgar Square to New Scotland Yard.

The United Campaign Against Police Violence was set up following the G20 demonstration in London when Ian Tomlinson, a man not taking part in the demonstration, was assaulted by police and died. Many protesters and some press were also attacked by police during the protest.

It brought together trade unionists and activists involved in organising the G20 Meltdown demonstration as well as campaigners against deaths in police custody particularly those in the United Families & Friends Campaign, UFFC, including the families of two men who died in Brixton Police Station, Ricky Bishop and Sean Rigg.

The protest was led by a coffin with a brass plate “FOR ALL OUR LOVED ONES WHO DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY”, and included a giant red figure representing one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – who led the four marches that converged on the Bank of England in the G20 demonstration. Prominent in the march and rally were Professor Chris Knight and Sean Rigg’s two sisters, Marcia and Samantha and the Rev Billy added his voice through a giant megaphone.

At the rally outside New Scotland Yard on Victoria Street there were speeches and a minute of silence for those who had died before the release of black balloons to represent the dead.

The police had until almost the end of the event acted on their best behaviour, arranging for the safe movement of the protest and joking with press and talking calmly with the protesters. The protesters were clearly angry about police violence but the protest was restrained and orderly

But as the rally was about to draw to a close in front of the police headquarters a police van drove up and a woman officer interrupted proceedings to read a statement telling everyone their presence was illegal. It seemed inexplicable other than as a deliberate attempt to try to provoke a violent reaction from the peaceful crowd, but the organisers managed to quieten things down and the rally continued.

More at Demonstration against Police Violence.

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

Saturday, May 20th, 2023

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party: London Saturday 20th May 2006


Stop Starving Palestine! – March for Palestine

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

After Hamas, a Sunni-Islamic militant nationalist political movement won a majority of seats in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections, Israel had imposed an economic blockade and both the US and EU withdrew their support.

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

This led to more than two-thirds of the people in the country being below the poverty line, lacking basic necessities such as sugar, oil, milk, and even bread is rationed. A ban on the import of vital medicines threatened many lives.

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

Around 20,000 people came to the Stop Starving Palestine! march organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and supported by many other organisations including peace groups, the Muslim Association Of Britain and leading trade unions.

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

Among the speakers were Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, Baroness Jenny Tonge of the Lib Dems and Manuel Hassassian, the Palestine Liberation Organisation representative to the UK (appointed by the Palestinian President as Ambassador but not recognised by the UK.)

As usual there were many Jewish protesters among the marchers, most noticeable of whom were Neturei Karta orthodox Jews who had walked from Stamford Hill on the Sabbath to attest to their support for Palestinians and their opposition to Zionism.

I left the event as the rally in Trafalgar Square began to go to Grosvenor Square.

More somewhere down the page at My London Diary – May 2006.


Bush in Wonderland, a Mad Emitters Tea Party – US Embassy

Campaign Against Climate Change had organised “bush in wonderland, a mad emitters tea party” held outside the heavily barricaded front of the US embassy in Grosvenor Square. The party was a part of an ongoing series of protests including a weekly climate vigil outside the embassy taking place since the breakdown of The Hague Climate Talks in November 2000.

There was a picnic table with sandwiches, cakes and tea, music from the eco warriors and guests with some appropriate lyrics, as well as samba from rhythms of resistance, and fancy dress. balloons, banners and a short speech by a White Rabbit called Phil reminded us of the need for protests like these.

The USA continues not only to pollute on a massive scale, but increasingly acts to sabotage international efforts to take any effective action on climate change.”

Protests such as this, publications by groups of leading scientists and COP talks after COP talks have done a little to move things on, but the climate situation has worsened and actions taken by governments so far are woefully inadequate.

The USA improved its rhetoric under Obama but didn’t do much and it went backwards under Trump. Biden has also failed to make the real changes needed – and like most politicians is still living in Wonderland rather than the real world.

Politicans are still pursuinging economic polices based on infinite growth under capitalism and we need to move to a new economics which recognises that we live on a planet with finite resources both physical and in the natural world and we need to move to living within sustainable limits.

More somewhere down the page at My London Diary – May 2006.


Journey to Justice – Drop the Debt 2008

Thursday, May 18th, 2023

Journey to Justice - Drop the Debt 2008

Sunday 18th May 2008, 15 years ago today, was an unusual day for me in two ways. Firstly that I went to Birmingham rather than London, but mainly that I went not primarily as a photographer, but as one of thousands of protesters, though that did not stop me taking photographs as you can see.

Journey to Justice - Drop the Debt 2008

Recent developments in Artificial Intelligence are arousing considerable debate among photographers, partly about redundancy with AI generated imagery already replacing photographers in some areas of marketing and advertising work, but more importantly about authenticity now that you can generate seemingly photographic images of anything whether it actually happened or not.

Journey to Justice - Drop the Debt 2008

Of course it has always been possible to make photographs which are misleading and dishonest, either at the point of exposure or later in the darkroom or more recently and trivially easy on a computer. There have been many historical examples and more recent controversies about faking or altering photographs, especially in some photojournalistic environments.

Journey to Justice - Drop the Debt 2008

Of course in some areas of photography clearly anything goes. We don’t expect a work of art to be a literal interpretation, but when we come to news or photojournalism we expect things to be true to the event or occasion. And the only guarantee of that is the integrity of the reporter.

Journey to Justice - Drop the Debt 2008

Of course as I wrote at the start of my piece on ‘Journey to Justice – Drop the Debt’, “You can’t take photographs without a point of view. Literally and metaphorically so – the rationale for making the picture determines the technical aspects of actually making the exposure. Where you stand isn’t just a matter of where you put your feet.”

I hope that my photographs make my position clear, as do the texts that I write to go with them, though on My London Diary and here I express my opinions as well as stating what appear to me to be the facts which accompany my images sent to the agencies I’ve worked with. I also don’t have to stick within the character limits they impose, typically limiting me to around a 100 words or less. Enough for the who, what, where and when but seldom much about the why, seldom enabling any real analysis of the events.

As my vintage website shows I’d been in Birmingham in May 1998 with some 70,000 others, forming a human chain around the centre of Birmingham, UK where the leaders of the eight richest nations in the G8 were holding a conference.

We were then part of a campaign by Jubilee 2000 to persuade the G8 countries to ‘break the chain of debt‘. Third-world countries were given massive loans in the 1970’s and are now crippled by the repayments, which now mean that a massive amount of money comes from the poor to the rich in repayments.

The noise we made back then made the world leaders come out from their conference room and listen, but then they went back inside and continued with business as usual. As I wrote in 2008, “Our actions in May 1998 had set the ball rolling, but as yet it has only gone one fifth of the way, and 80% of debts remain. All governments, including our own, have been guilty of making many promises that they have not kept on debt relief and aid.

Things overall have changed little since then, although some countries in the global south have become rather more desperate and more vocal particularly as the effects of climate change increasingly hit them.

I wrote at some length about the day and the protest on My London Diary in 2008 and I won’t repeat that here, but hope some at least will click the link to read it.

At the end of that piece I wrote about the problem for those who didn’t have a long ladder in photographing what was an attempt to form and photograph the world’s largest human pie chart. I can’t find the official photograph on the web and I think it may have been little if any better than mine.

2008 Journey to Justice – Drop the Debt
1998 Jubilee 2000 – Birmingham