I joined over 30,000 people in Brisbane and millions globally to call for action on the climate emergency that we are rapidly marching towards. Speeches I couldn’t quite hear over the huge crowds, signs, flags, and banners of all sorts, and a clear message to send. One world, one chance, one movement.
Students and children of all ages were in attendance, some with parents, others with teachers. Adults of all ages, including a large elderly presence, surrounded them in the CBD as they cheered the speakers who took to the stage. As we surged through the streets, there was a young boy who appeared at different locations, shouting slogans with more passion in his voice than I could ever hope to muster. He was echoed by hundreds.
A section of the initial gathering spot was dedicated to those of faith – mostly Christian, but Muslims and others were also present in large numbers – some who prayed, others who joined in the cheers. From where I stood, I could see them and LGBT+ members of the crowd in close proximity to one another.
The Union presence was incredible, with banners and flags lined up on the right-hand side of the park (perhaps Labor will step back from its pathetic change of stance on fossil fuels as a result?). Socialist and even anarchist groups were spread out through the crowd (I saw at least three anarchist flags, surprisingly, as well as an anarchist stand when we reached Musgrave Park).
Representatives from various activist groups held signs and wore shirts, promoting their message. From R U OK, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, to Extinction Rebellion, there was no small number of pamphlets and invitations to future events. Human rights activists held huge signs across the road (some examples below).
Most importantly, there was Indigenous representation. Of all of the groups that were there, they cannot be underestimated. You cannot separate Indigenous concerns from environmental issues, whether it’s the Adani mine, the sacred trees down south, or climate change in general. Globally, the Indigenous populations are the strongest voices we have for our planet, and to have them heard is humbling. One sang songs on (I think) a banjo (I’m not great with instruments) as we marched.
Why is this important?
Because not everyone of the thousands of people in attendance will have the same story, the same ideas, the same beliefs. But they did have one uniting factor, and that is the hope for a future of change. Groups that we often see portrayed as enemies in the media and online were marching alongside one another with a common purpose. There was no hatred or discrimination, nor violence and anger.
May the millions who marched on Friday continue to shape the future together, and may the rest of the world see what we can do as a global community to push for positive change regardless of our differences.
Some examples of signs and slogans:
“Climate change inaction is a crime against humanity.”
“Climate change inaction is child abuse.”
“The seas are rising, no more compromising.”
“12 years of school, 12 years to act.”
“I’m already drowning in your bullshit!”
“There are no jobs on a dead planet.”
“Why should we go to school when you don’t listen to the educated!”
“I love school, but I love Earth more.”
“Our planet is changing. Why aren’t we?”
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