More than 10,000 people demanding action over climate change descended on London on Wednesday, for a mass lobby of UK politicians organised by The Climate Coalition. They travelled from all over the country to Westminster to ask their local MPs to take a stand in the global fight against climate change. Hundreds more who couldn't make the rally emailed their MPs with similar requests.
The UKs biggest-ever climate change lobby brought together Britons from every walk of life - including anglers, beekeepers, snowboarders, surfers, doctors, wildlife enthusiasts, grandparents, nuns, priests and farmers.
The day began with ecumenical prayers. There so many people that prayer services were held in two places - St Margaret's Church, Westminster and the Emmanuel Centre. Bishop Nicholas Holtam, Anglican Bishop of Salisbury, had to deliver his homily twice - travelling by rickshaw to reach the second service in time.*
After the services, thousands of people queued to meet face-to-face with their constituency MPs along the Embankment outside Westminster, to explain why they want the new Parliament to support national and global efforts to hold back CO2 emissions and build a cleaner economy.
Together with the hundreds taking on-line action, the lobby was more than 10,000 strong, and by early afternoon the campaign hashtag #fortheloveof was trending at #2 on Twitter in UK.
The Climate Coalition wants politicians to work together across party lines to create a low-carbon infrastructure plan, covering energy and transport and the restoration of nature.
Those who attended included Double Olympic Gold Medallist and quadruple World Champion rower Andrew Triggs-Hodge who said: "Climate change threatens many aspects of human life - and changing water patterns is one of the main risks.
"In London, the population depends on a relatively small river basin, the Thames. If the stress to the Thames Basin becomes intolerable, it will be hard for my sport to continue in the UK. The risk is too great to ignore. That's why I'm speaking up for the love of rowing."
Dominican Sister Karen Marguerite d'Artois OP said: "I'm here today because I care passionately about our world and what is happening to it. The earth is God's creation which has been entrusted to us. We have an obligation to care for it.
"I've come with CAFOD to speak to my MP because climate change is having its greatest impact on the most vulnerable: it's pushing the poorest people in our world deeper into poverty. We have a responsibility towards those who are less privileged than we are, and we have to start thinking about how our lifestyles affect our brothers and sisters in developing countries."
Bee keeper Colin Hall said: "Beekeeping connects us with the greater whole of nature and agriculture. Climate change is a catastrophic threat to bees and is already happening. We must act with the greatest urgency to save the British countryside that we love and all the precious creatures who depend on it and give it life."
Surfers Against Sewage CEO Hugo Tagholm said: "The UK's amazing waves, oceans and beaches, and the surfers that use them are under threat from climate change.
"Increased rainfall could lead to more pollution as the UK's sewerage system is inundated, exposing surfers to more potentially harmful pathogens. Coastal erosion could be exacerbated by more severe storms, changing the face of UK surfing habitats as we know them. Surfers Against Sewage is mobilising surfers nationwide to take action on climate change, protect the beaches we all love, and Speak Up For The Love Of Waves!"
Bernard Llewelyn, a farmer from Carmarthenshire who also runs a tourism business: said "Climate change is a big issue for farmers. I'm joining this lobby because I'm concerned about the impact it will have on our family farms and the beauty of rural Wales.
"We must address this serious issue for the sake of our food supply and rural economy. If we act now, we can provide a positive future for Welsh family farms and farmers worldwide."
Source: Christian Aid/ICN
*See also: Text: Bishop Nicholas Holtham at Climate Change Lobby service www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=27717
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