Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

London Pride & Climate Change Rally – 2007

Sunday, June 30th, 2024

London Pride & Climate Change Rally; My working day on Saturday 30th June 2007 began at a rather damp Baker Street where people were meeting for the London Pride Parade and I was able to wander freely and take photographs. I left before the parade moved off and went to Parliament Square where a rally reminded Gordon Brown – then prime minister for 3 days – that climate change remains the major challenge facing the world – and the new government.


London Pride Parade – Baker Street

London Pride & Climate Change Rally

There seemed to be only two things that distinguished the 2007 Pride from the previous year’s event. One was the weather and so many of the pictures are of people holding umbrellas.

London Pride & Climate Change Rally

The second was a large group in the self-styled ‘Bird Parade‘, the ‘Bird Club‘ with their messages including ‘Aren’t Birds Brilliant‘ and ‘Femme Invisibility – So last Year‘.

London Pride & Climate Change Rally

There were quite a few overhanging shop fronts and other places that people could shelter under but taking pictures mainly involved me staind in the rain and getting rather wet.

London Pride & Climate Change Rally

I’m not afraid of rain but cameras and lenses need to kept dry. I really needed an assistant with an umbrella but I was working on my own. Its difficult to hold an umbrella and a camera and while I’ve tried various special plastic camera protectors none really solve the problem.

The cameras I use are reasonably water resistant and given he occasional wipe with a cloth and keeping them under my jacket when not in use are fine. But lenses need to have a glass front element to let the light in, and this acts as a powerful magnet for raindrops. Long lenses can have lens hoods which protect them, but when like me you work with wide and ultra-wide lenses they are totally ineffectual, except for allowing me to walk around with a chamois leather balled up into them. But of course I have to hold this clear to frame, focus and take the image, and those raindrops too often manage to sneak their way in that second or so.

I’ve shared too often my thoughts on the presence of corporates and military groups in Pride to bother to say more.

But at least there were some, like Peter Tatchell determined to retain it as a protest, with his wedding cake placard and poster ‘END THE BAN ON GAY MARRIAGE’.

Many more photographs beginning here


Climate Change Rally – Parliament Square

It was still raining for the rally in Parliament Square and my favourite mermaid seemed to be in her natural habitat unless I carefully kept wiping the lens front.

But there was some shelter under the trees and rather fewer people had managed to attend the protest called at short notice by the Campaign Against Climate Change.

Under Blair’s government UK carbon emissions had risen by 2%, but it was now clear to scientists around the world that we needed to drastically cut them. Blair had resigned as New Labour leader on 24 June 2007 and Gordon Brown had become Prime Minister only three days before this protest on 27 June 2007.

Back in 2007 it was clear that climate change remained the major challenge facing the world – and the new government. But in 2008 we had the financial crash and Gordon Brown was diverted into saving the bankers and successive governments since have failed to make the kind of radical changes that are needed to save the planet.

In 2007 I wrote “if you ain’t got a planet, you ain’t in business is the simple message, though some of the speakers had some rather more complex graphs and charts. Blair and Brown were only there in effigy, but we did have a rather more convincing mermaid to warn about the dangers of rising sea levels.” Of course sea levels are only one aspect of the problem with our increasing climate instability and other effects of global heating. The need to take action is even more important for our next government – and for all governments around the world.

more pictures


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Axe the Draxosaurus – 2016

Saturday, April 20th, 2024

Axe the Draxosaurus – On Wedesday 20th April 2016 environmental activists protested outside the AGM of Drax Plc at Grocer’s Hall next to the Bank of England in the heart of the City of London. Drax power station near Selby in Yorkshire used to be the UK’s biggest coal-fired power station, but since 2012 has become the world’s biggest wood-burning plant, and the company Drax Plc has become the second largest producer of wood pellets in the world

Axe the Draxosaurus

Drax power station now emits more CO2 than any other plant in the UK, and it does so with the aid of a huge subsidy from our UK electricity bills, almost £1 billion in 2021.

Axe the Draxosaurus

It get subsidised by the UK Government as part of the plan to decarbonise electricity generation despite the evidence from scientists around the world that the burning of forest wood for energy increases carbon emissions and is incompatible with the attempt to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Axe the Draxosaurus

The subsidies that Drax receives increase our electricity bills and should be going to expand truly renewable energy sources such as wind, wave and solar energy. Instead they are paying Drax to pollute and pay out large dividends to their shareholders.

Axe the Draxosaurus

Sourcing the wood to burn at Drax – and for them to sell to other wood-burning plants is also a social and environmental disaster. Much of the wood comes from Drax’s pellet mills using large mmonoculture pine plantations in Southeastern USA, large sterile forest areas with little or no wildlife which have been expanded greatly in area, in part by the total clearance of areas of ancient forest.

Also in the USA, Drax buys pellets from Enviva, the world’s largest pellet producer which has come under criticism for its clearcut felling of US coastal hardwood forests.

Drax has also been criticised by environmentalists for its clear cutting of ancient forests in Canada, and its Portuguese supplier of pellets has been found to have sourced trees from nature reserves. And logging for wood pellets for Drax is also destroying ancient forests in Estonia and Latvia.

The amount of wood burned at Drax is huge – 6.4 million tonnes in 2022 – and will have involved the cutting down of twice that mass of trees. It is more than the entire UK wood production – but only supplies less than one hundredth of our energy needs.

Drax is now attempting to claim further subsidies for its BECCS (Bioenergy With Carbon Capture And Storage) project which seems very unlikely to be able to capture any significant amount of its huge annual CO2 output. It would obviously be far better simply to stop burning wood and turn to truly renewable power sources.

The protest in 2016 was organised by Biofuelwatch on whose web site you can find more a detailed briefing about Drax and why it is vital to end the subsidies for its polluting and environmentally destructive activities.

You can find information on the Axe Drax page about the trial of the #DRAX2 arrested after paint was sprayed on the government department supporting the subisdies to Drax – it begins at Southwark Crown Court on April 22nd 2024. And on August 8-13th 2024 Reclaim the Power is holding a mass protest camp for climate justice “targeting Drax – the biggest emitter in the UK, the world’s biggest burner of trees and a key driver of environmental racism.”

Drax AGM Biomass opposition


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Children’s Blood and Women Rise – 2019

Saturday, March 9th, 2024

Children’s Blood and Women Rise – On Saturday 9th March 2019 Extinction Rebellion covered the road at Downing St with fake blood in a protest calling for a future for children and women marched through the West End in an annual protest against male violence.


Blood of Our Children – XR – Downing St

Children's Blood and Women Rise

Two processions converged from both directions on Whitehall outside Downing Street, each led by children carrying posters with the message ‘Our Future, Our Blood’ along with a person ringing a bell.

Children's Blood and Women Rise

The children were followed by people in single file carrying buckets of fake blood prepared to be arrested to draw attention to the need for urgent action to avoid the otherwise inevitable extinction of human life on Earth. They were followed by a crowd of other Extinction Rebellion supporters.

In front of Downing Street those carrying buckets formed a large half circle and when the bells stopped ringing came forward in three waves to pour the blood onto the roadway, retuning to sit down and await arrest.

Children's Blood and Women Rise

Police watched carefully but took no action. There were a number of short speeches from young people, including some very impressive 10 and 11 year-olds, before I left, as well as by students and grandparents, but no arrests.

More pictures at Blood of Our Children – XR.


Million Women March against male violence – Oxford St

I left early to rush to Oxford Street for the annual all-women Million Women March by several thousand women, girls and children against male violence and arrived a little before the march was due to start from a street at the side of Selfridges.

The theme of the 2019 march was ‘Never Forgotten’ and it remembered the more than a hundred women killed by men each year in the UK, mainly by partners or ex-partners.

As in other years there was a strong representation by women from our diverse ethnic communities, concerned about male violence both here and in their countries of origin.

In the UK 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives and one incident is reported to police every minute.

Many more pictures on My London Diary Million Women March against male violence.


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Time to Act on Climate Change – 2015

Thursday, March 7th, 2024

Time to Act on Climate Change – it was indeed time to act on climate change when over 20,000 of us marched through the streets on Saturday 7th March 2015, but though almost all the scientists and others who had studied their reports were convinced the nine years since then have been largely wasted years.

Time to Act on Climate Change
Tina-Louise Rothery from ‘Frack Free Nanashire’ and others from Lancashire sitting down on the Strand

There have been some minor changes both in the UK and across the world, but nothing like enough to reverse the growing climate chaos – and our current government seems determined to stay on course for extinction, giving approval to new fossil fuel schemes.

Time to Act on Climate Change

Not that the current opposition, who may well become our government at the next general election seem any better. Instead of taking a firm line to oppose these climate-wrecking schemes and promising to reverse the decisions when they come to power they have said they will allow them to proceed. They have promised not to approve more, but then they have already abandoned most of the promises they had made earlier, including those related to climate change.

Time to Act on Climate Change

In 2021 Labour announced a £28 billion annual green spending plan creating new jobs in battery manufacturing, hydrogen power, offshore wind, tree planting, flood defences and home insulation in the first term when they came to power. They abandoned this pledge in Feb 2024, cutting by half or more its green investment plan.

Time to Act on Climate Change

Back in 2015 the climate march and rally demanded real action without delay with a total divestment from fossil fuels, an end to fracking and damaging bio-fuel projects and for a 100% renewable energy future which would create a million new jobs. The Labour policy would have been a watered down version of this, coming ten years at least too late, but now hardly coming at all.

The organisers of the march through London had refused to pay for any policing of the event, saying it was not needed and it proceeded peacefully largely in their absence. There were large groups of police protecting some businesses, particularly the Strand McDonalds, where some marchers stopped to protest.

A large group of the marchers, including a block from Frack Free Lancashire led by the Nanas, then sat down on the road and halted the march for around 15 minutes before getting up and continuing.

A black block of several hundred behind a banner ‘TIME TO ACT ON CAPITALISM’ made a lot of noise going down Whitehall, and then rushed off down King Charles Street rather than continue to the rally. I went with them for a few yards and then decided to go back and join the many thousands on the main march which ended with a rally on College Green, close to the Houses of Parliament.

Here is the list I gave of the speakers in the account I wrote in 2015, and there are pictures of most of them on My London Diary:

Among the speakers were John Sauven of Greenpeace UK, Kat Hobbs from CAAT, Bert Wander of Avaaz, Pete the Temp, Fatima-Zahara Ibrahim of the Youth Climate Coalition, Pete Deane from Biofuelwatch, Guy Shrubsole from Friends of the Earth, FBU leader Matt Wrack, Rumana Hashem an evironmental activist from Bangladesh, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Tina-Louise Rothery who spoke toegther with a Frack Free Lancashire crowd, Dennis Fernando, UAF, Chris Baugh, PCS, John McDonnell, MP, and comedian Francesca Martinez. A woman from Paris (whose name I missed) invited us all to go there to protest at the climate talks there this December, and a 12 year-old read an excellent speech she had prepared.

There was then a performance by a large choir, Voices United, and the event concluded with John Stewart of HACAN who came on stage together with some polar bears from a protest earlier in the day at Heathrow who received prolonged applause.

Time to Act on Climate Change

At the end of the rally we were invited to take part in two other protests continuing the day’s theme and I went with ‘Art Not Oil’ proceeding with their Viking longship to protest on the steps of Tate Britain against the gallery accepting sponsorship to greenwash climate wrecker BP. Partly I chose this rather than the planned direct actions around Parliament as I thought it would get less press coverage, but it was also on my way to Vauxhall station where I could catch a train home.

Viking longship invades Tate steps
Climate Change Rally
Time to Act on Climate Change


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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.