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2004 Long March for Kyoto


I just found time to write up a brief report on the 20 mile walk I did last weekend. Organised by the Campaign against Climate Change this was the third such event, marking the anniversary of the decision by the Bush Administration not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Some of you might be here to see my photos so I will start with them:

Phil (the driving force behind CCC) had not fully recovered from the Aldermaston March so he asked me if I would lead the walk. Having done it a couple of years ago I knew what was involved so I agreed (on the day there were others who helped out and I didn't really have much to do - just a bit of map-reading and keeping an eye on the time). About 10 of us met in Dorking and stayed at Tanners Hatch Youth Hostel so we could make an early start. The idea was to assemble at the entrance to Exxon-Mobil's Leatherhead office for a photo opportunity and a 7:00 departure. The theme for the day was dinosaurs (fossil fuel, extinction, lack of future etc) and there was a bit of a fancy dress thing going on. Fortunately the weather was good - too warm if anything because a couple of dinosaurs had to shed their costumes before long.

The walk was quite pleasant and fairly un-eventful. We started off walking through leafy suburbs towards Morden, and then on to Wimbledon town centre where we stopped for an hour to do some leafleting etc. Having already walked for over four hours we were also in need of refreshments! On our way once more, and by the time we reached Clapham Common our numbers had grown to about forty. We had fallen a bit behind schedule so we had to keep pushing because there were people waiting for us at Geraldine Mary Harmsworth park. We stuck together and arrived only a little late to a resounding cheer.

After listening to a few speeches we set off again, accompanied now by a few hundred fresh faces and the amazing Rinky-Dink mobile soundsystem. Now we just had a standard length march to do, ending at the US Embassy for a dinosaur party. After the event was over some of us retired to the nearby Barley Mow pub for a well deserved drink and then I headed home to collapse. I was pretty happy with the way it went but unfortunately it is a huge uphill struggle to get people excited about climate change. This is probably just because it is happening on such a long timescale by our day to day standards - it is like trying to get excited about paint drying:-)

Climate change is however a huge issue which is not going to go away, and we must not allow government policy to continue to be dictated by companies like Exxon-Mobil. However things develop I think it is likely that CCC will be organising another Long March again next year, when I hope there will be more to celebrate! Ian Gregory 2010