Pix-&-Vidz of Climate Bike Ride, London, UK - 06 Dec 08

A1. Asking the right question

 

A freewheel of hundreds of cyclists begin the Global Day of Climate Action events in London UK with a protest cycle ride, linking the issues around Catastrophic Climate Change by joining the dots on the map, stopping off at three particular places:

  • outside Greenergy, 198 High Holborn – for an Anti-Agrofuels Protest organised by Biofuelwatch
  • outside E.ON, 100 Pall Mall – for speakers on No New Coal
  • outside the Department for Transport, 76 Marsham Street – for speakers on Sustainable Transport
  • route map: http://tinyurl.com/CBR2008-map (custom GoogleMap)

 

A2. Climate Bike Ride 2008 route map

 

B1. Four Bromptonistas - from the dozens of Folding Bikes present

 

B2. Des Kay's bike says 'Love Your Mum'

 

What is the biggest issue facing humanity? Obama’s cabinet appointments? Hangingey’s child protection process? Police raids on an MP’s home and parliamentary office? Or mitigating the Catastrophic Climate Change [1] component of the human-generated Extinction-Level Event [2] through which we’re living?

On Mon 01 Dec 08, after months of publicly promoting the 06 Dec 08 Global Day of Climate Action [3], I found myself plugging the London events at a ‘Celebrating Chomsky’ public meeting [4], at which the public speakers included Guardian journalist Jonathan Steele and Climate Camp [5] activist Mel Evans (who also spoke at the National Climate March rally). Coincidentally, on that very day, the UK government’s Climate Change Committee [6] published its first (and fairly radical) report ‘Building a Low-Carbon Economy - The UK's Contribution to Tackling Climate Change’ [7], but the first three news stories mentioned above dominated the front pages of News.BBC.co.uk and Guardian.co.uk – and the breaking climate change news didn’t even make it on to their front pages, being relegated instead to the Science & Environment sections. So the struggle continues to get THE most important issue up to the top of the political and news agendas, where it rightly belongs.

So on Sat 06 Dec 08, people in 94 nations across the planet took action to highlight the human-caused disaster-in-the-making that is Catastrophic Climate Change. And in a chilly-but-sunny old London town, the day’s actions began with the Climate Bike Ride 2008 [8], which met up at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. After only a short ride we arrived at...

C1. Agrofuels? Just say NO!

 

C2. Women promoting imaginative protest metaphors

 

Stop One: Anti-Agrofuels Protest

▪    organised by Biofuelwatch [9] 
▪    outside Greenergy, 198 High Holborn

We Want Food Sovereignty, Not Biofuels

“While Europeans maintain their lifestyle based on automobile culture, the population of Southern countries will have less and less land for food crops and will lose its food sovereignty. We will have to base our diet on imported food, possibly from Europe. In other cases, energy crops will be grown in Latin America, as well as in Asian and African countries, at the expense of our natural ecosystems…The problem of climate change generated by the countries of the North cannot be solved by creating new problems in our region. We are therefore appealing to the governments and people of the European Union countries to seek solutions that do not worsen the already dramatic social and environmental situation of the peoples of Latin America, Asia and Africa.”
Open Letter to the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Governments and Citizens of the European Union, Jan 07
from Alert Against the Green Desert Network, Latin American Network against Monoculture Tree Plantations, Network for a GM free Latin America, Oilwatch South America, World Rainforest Movement [10]

D1. 'Vive la Vélorution' in Shaftesbury Avenue

 

D2. Protesting onna Pennyfarthing

 

Stop Two: No New Coal

▪    speakers: Kingsnorth Six duo Huw Williams and Emily Hall [11] 
▪    outside E.ON UK Office, 100 Pall Mall

Why stop E.ON and Kingsnorth?

“1. Because [E.ON’s proposed new dirty coal-powered electricity generating station at Kingsnorth, Kent, UK] will emit between 6 and 8 million tons of CO2 every year. That's equivalent to the annual emissions of Malawi's 13 million people or more CO2 than Heathrow's third runway would burn. We need to radically cut carbon emissions not increase them. Climate change isn't about warmer summers in Blighty. It's about serious changes that will cost millions of people (particularly those that are the worst off and living precariously) their livelihoods and lives.
2. The power companies want to build up to seven other coal-fired power stations. If this happened the combined emissions would be around 50 million tons of CO2 a year - more than two new Heathrow airports. This would wreck the UK's chances of meeting its own emissions targets. If we can stop E.ON, it makes it very unlikely other companies will risk similar plans
3. Because the vision that sustains the idea of Kingsnorth is the same vision that says it is ok to build airports, roads and nuclear power stations. Stopping Kingsnorth will shake that vision to its core.
4. It might make sense for the market to switch to coal when gas and oil prices rise, but to people on the real world that makes about as much sense as a petrol-filled fire extinguisher. Using coal to burn our way out of the energy crisis would be a monumental mistake. We should instead use the energy crisis positively and implement the solutions that will get us off fossil fuels.
E.ON think they can get this power station built. They've looked at history and seen that while direct action stopped the road programme it never stopped any one particular road where there was a direct action campaign. Their calculation is that they spend a few million quid on security, get their power station and let other suffer the consequences.
But unlike roadbuilders E.ON have a global brand and customers. Stopping Kingsnorth will mean stopping E.ON.”

E.ON F.OFF Campaign Website [12]

D3. Tripping through Trafalgar Square

 

D4. A pause in Whitehall

 

D5. Low winter sunshine

 

D6. Passing Westminster Abbey

 

D7. 4x4 SUVs - Axles of EVIL

 

D8. Cycling by the Channel 4 HQ

 

Stop Three: Sustainable Transport

▪    speakers: Dr Mayer Hillman [13] and Roger Geffen [14]

▪    outside Department for Transport, Horseferry Road

“Our continuing uneconomic growth makes us complicit in a process that is triggering an ecological catastrophe for our children and generations beyond them. They will justifiably sit in judgment on our failure to have prevented its devastating consequences knowing that we chose to look the other way.”
Dr Mayer Hillman [13]

“Cycling is fun. It’s fast, it’s flexible, it’s free (well, almost, don’t tell the bike shops I said that). It burns up food, which is great fun in it’s own right – that means you keep fit, and you don’t get fat, and you’re not burning up finite fossil fuels. There’s an awful lot of Fs in what’s good about cycling. It’s friendly to the environment, which is the main reason we’re here today.
It is people’s fear that cycling is “dangerous” that stops them doing it. Many people out there who don’t yet cycle say they would love to – they recognise all those benefits, particularly at a time of recession, when there are cost savings to be done, and health benefits to be gained. What’s putting people off is the perception that it’s too “dangerous”. There is an opportunity to start changing that by getting 20 mph as the normal speed limit for urban streets, and by making sure that our streets are well designed for cycling. We’ve just got to set sensible targets that say, “More AND safer cycling go together fine!” In London, we’ve had a 91% increase in cycle use, AND a 33% absolute reduction in cycle casualties at the same time. “More AND safer cycling” can and should go together. Let’s get THAT through to the Department for Transport.
Cycling is good for a sustainable economy, based on local people enjoying their local communities, shopping in local shops, rather than massive out-of-town superstores that people can’t get to unless they’ve got a car. That’s the sort of economy that actually makes sense, not just in a recession but any time. If we want to have a sustainable future, we need a sustainable economy that is NOT based on consuming fossil fuels, consuming metal, consuming rubber for tires, and then throwing the cars away at the end of it all. Cycling is about quality of life, living sustainably, enjoying ourselves, being healthy, enjoying our food, instead of burning fuel. Enjoy the rest of the day – enjoy cycling!”

Roger Geffen (partial speech transcript)

 

E1. The solution reflected in the problem

 

E2. Stopping off at the Department of Transport

 

E3. Des Kay's 'Car Culture Dinosaur' mobile sculpture outside the DfT

 

F1. Fluffy Toys for Climate Justice

 

F2. Human-powered people-mover

 

F3. Sociable Bromptonista chit-chat

 

F4. What we need and when we want it

 

End of Ride – Start of March

The ride ended outside the fortified enclave of the biggest polluting nation in the history of humanity – the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square. And after a pause for light refreshment, many of us also joined in the National Climate March to Parliament Square, which will be the subject of my next Action Report.

Up the Revolution,

Tim Dalinian Jones

email: tim.dalinian.jones@googlemail.com
blog: http://tinyurl.com/dalinian
facebook: http://tinyurl.com/FB-dalinian

See Also

▪ ‘Pix-&-Vidz of National Climate March, London, UK – 06 Dec 08’ by Tim Dalinian Jones – http://tinyurl.com/NCM-LDN-06-Dec-08
▪ ‘Climate Change Critical Mass and March Pics’ by Rikki – http://london.indymedia.org.uk/articles/366
▪ ‘Climate change rally 6 Dec 2008 - pics, audio and video’ by Simon – http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/12/414680.html
▪ Sustainable Transport speeches by Roger Geffen and Dr Mayer Hillman, outside Department for Transport – http://london.indymedia.org.uk/system/file_upload/2008/12/06/14/climate_...
▪ Video of Climate Bike Ride 2008 by Doug – http://www.archive.org/details/bikeride6-12-08

Vidz
To follow, as links above, once the editing and uploading are complete.

 

F5. Art for Cycing from another Bromptonista

 

Footnotes

[1]  Catastrophic Climate Change: see, eg – ‘Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us’ – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2004/feb/22/usnews.theobserver

[2]  Extinction-Level Event:
▪    the ‘Big Five’ extinction-level events – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_Level_Event#Major_extinction_events
▪    the Sixth Extinction – http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/eldredge2.html

[3]  Global Day of Climate Action: see – http://www.globalclimatecampaign.org

[4]  Celebrating Chomsky: Noam celebrates his 80th birthday on Sun 07 Dec 08 – Happy Birthday to you, fella, & Up the Revolution:
▪    Celebrating Chomsky events – http://j-n-v.org
▪    Honouring Noam Chomsky – http://www.chomskytribute.org

[5]  Climate Camp: the most excellent anti-capitalist direct-action-oriented climate change movement – http://climatecamp.org.uk

[6]  The UK government’s Climate Change Committee – http://www.theccc.org.uk

[7]   Climate Change Committee report ‘Building a Low-Carbon Economy - The UK's Contribution to Tackling Climate Change’:
▪    ‘UK climate watchdog urges dramatic cuts in greenhouse gases’ – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/01/climatechange-carbonem...
▪    diverse downloads from the Climate Change Committee – http://www.theccc.org.uk/reports/

[8]  Climate Bike Ride 2008:
▪    info – http://www.campaigncc.org/bikeride.shtml
▪    route map – http://tinyurl.com/CBR2008-map (custom GoogleMap)

[9]  Biofuelwatch – http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk

[10]  We Want Food Sovereignty, Not Biofuels – http://www.wrm.org.uy/subjects/biofuels/EU_declaration.html

[11]  Kingsnorth Six duo Huw Williams and Emily Hall
▪    Kingsnorth Six: meet the defendants – http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/kingsnorth-six-meet-defendants...
▪    Kingsnorth Six found not guilty! – http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/kingsnorth-trial-breaking-news...

[12]  E.ON F.OFF Campaign Website – http://www.e-onf-off.org.uk/why.html

[13]  Dr Mayer Hillman – http://www.mayerhillman.com

[14]  Roger Geffen, Campaigns and Policy Manager at CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation – http://www.ctc.org.uk

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