Stand Up, Speak Up, Sign Up!

by Michael Ford last modified 17 Oct, 2016 04:02 PM

Bishop and Christian Aid CEO lead Salisbury demonstration on climate change

Stand Up, Speak Up, Sign Up!

Jonathan Jester: photo by Elizabeth Perry

Members of the Climate Coalition gathered at St Thomas’ Church, Salisbury on Thursday 13 October and marched to the Guildhall as part of the ‘Speak Up’ nationwide week of action on climate change. Speakers included the CEO of Christian Aid, Loretta Minghella, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Gary Mantle and the Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam.

Facebook gallery here; temporary Dropbox folder here

Loretta Minghella addressed an informal lunch and called for a low carbon investment plan, saying, “Every person who will take an action this week, in all the 200 events that are going on this week over Britain and Ireland, is making a difference because they’re letting politicians know what is really important. It’s never been more important than now to let them know.”

Arturo Tahup, from ICSC*, a Christian Aid partner based in the Philippines, called for more solar farms and an end to coal mining and fracking.

He told a story of an entire family swimming for their lives and said, “For Filipinos, climate change is not an abstract concept. For us Filipinos, climate change is real. It has been happening here and now and it has really devastated our communities.”

Gary Mantle talked of the decline of butterflies, changes in salmon migration, and the halving of the number of birds in Wiltshire in recent years, due to the effects of global warming.

Emphasising the need to help wildlife adapt to the current changes, he said, “We can do what we can do, as Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. You will do what you can do as individuals. But it’s really important that the government does its bit as well. And that’s why it’s so important that we speak up.”

A crowd of over 70 people then marched to the Guildhall, ably assisted by an eye-catching stilt walker, Jonathan Jester.

Bishop Nicholas told a story of people in Malawi doing what they could by planting trees to try and help prevent further climate change.

He said, “We – people – are causing climate change, and we have a responsibility to address the cause of climate change.

“We are burning the fossil fuels that are causing climate change and we need to move, quickly, to renewable energy, to energy efficiency, and to a low carbon economy in which our lives are greatly changed.”

Gary Mantle and Loretta Minghella spoke again for the benefit of passersby, who were invited to sign forms and support the campaign as the crowd chorused, ‘Stand Up, Speak Up, Sign Up!’

The event concluded with the crowd singing a new version of ‘Stormy Weather.’ Local MP John Glen was invited, but was unable to attend. The ‘Speak Up’ campaign continues until Sunday 16 October.

About the ‘Speak Up’ Campaign
Seeking to achieve 100% ‘clean’ energy within a generation. There are around 200 events happening in Britain and Ireland in the week of 8-16 October 2016.
The overriding aims of the current campaign are:
1. To urge the government to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement as soon as possible, and no later than November 2016.
2. To publish an ambitious low carbon investment plan to transform the economy in line with the Climate Change Act.

The Christian Aid climate change page is:
http://www.christianaid.org.uk/ActNow/climate-change/

About Wiltshire Wildlife Trust:
https://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/who-we-are

*About ICSC, the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities:
http://www.ejeepney.org/about-us/

Main contact
Stephen Dominy, Regional Coordinator, Dorset & Wiltshire Christian Aid
07814 131162, 023 8070 6969, sdominy@christian-aid.org.

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