Rallies are being organised across Portugal and around the world this weekend to promote action rather than words in tackling the problem of climate change.
The international mobilisation effort “to build a cleaner, fairer, safer world” is being staged to coincide with the United Nations summit meeting on climate change in New York.
The summit is the first time world leaders have sat down to discuss the problem – some say the biggest in history - since the summit in Copenhagen five years ago. Little has been achieved since then to stop the climate situation worsening.
The biggest street marches, some perhaps involving hundreds of thousands, will take place in New York and other cities including London, Berlin, Paris, Delhi, Rio and Melbourne. Groups large and small are expected to gather in Lisbon, Porto and at other locations in Portugal, such as Faro, Tavira and Silves in the Algarve, and in the Azores.
The various organisers hope that globally it will be the biggest climate change mobilisation ever. Nearly 400,000 people have signed up on an Avaaz digital site to say they will be taking part.
Greenpeace, Oxfam and the World Wildlife Fund are among the many organisations supporting the effort to get world leaders to recognise the groundswell of public opinion.
The widespread belief is that the world can be powered entirely by renewable energy and make economies more sustainable. The transition to a clean energy future would among other things create millions of new jobs.
Activists say they want world leaders, without any further delay, “to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet.”
Put simply, according to Avaaz campaigners, “we need to break free from the shackles of the fossil fuel industry in order to address the climate crisis. We’re already seeing the devastating impacts of climate change around the world, with the poorest and most vulnerable being the hardest hit.
“There can be no climate justice without economic justice, but there won’t be any economic justice without facing up to our climate reality.”
As previously reported in Portugal Newswatch, one of the messages from top scientists attending an international conference on climate change in Lisbon was that the world must expect increasing deluges, droughts, firestorms, landslides, avalanches, gales and tornadoes.
It is predicted that the Mediterranean could rise by half a metre by 2050 and wipe out coastal communities. Southern Europe generally is likely to get hotter and dry up. The farming of fruits, cereals and vegetables in southern Iberia may have to be abandoned; tropical species of mosquitoes may move north bringing with them diseases such as malaria and encephalitis.
In Portugal's southernmost region an irreversible process of desertification may be already underway. It could become as dry as the Sahara countries of North Africa.
The message from marchers this weekend is that global action must be taken now to stop this sort of thing happening.
© Len Port 2014
News from Tavira on Sunday
The Tavira anti-climate action involved meeting at Beterraba shop near the municipal market then an eco-minded walk around the Salinas ending up at Praça da republica in Tavira at 1pm.
Despite the rain (climate change?) the meeting went well and over 30 signatures added to the global campaign to get government heads to agree meaningful targets and to push the green energy and reduced pollution agenda.
Below are some points that could help get local discussions started and we intend to follow up this campaign with some concrete actions on environmental quality.
Ways to help fight Climate Change
In the Home:
Look at using Solar Energy for heat and electricity
Install a wood-burner to heat in winter
Grow your own herbs & vegetables (try containers)
Eat healthy using as much local food as possible (organic where possible)
Share any excess or surplus with friends/family
Tolerate temperature changes with clothing
Use washing products that are less harmful to nature
Use healthy and local cosmetics
Try to use unbleached cotton and natural fabrics
Exercise regularly and take note of your local area, help to keep it clean.
Drive more efficiently
Reduce excessive water use
Use less plastic bags/packaging and recycle as much as possible. Combine with neighbours for organic compost and land use.
In your local area:
Travel by foot, bicycle or public transport where possible and avoid unnecessary journeys
Buy local food, cosmetics and other products
Campaign for information from your council to see how much is produce locally and get contacts of local suppliers.
Ask you council for air/water quality regular results.
Campaign for supermarkets to display local producers and their products.
Ask your local council to provide land for community vegetable gardens and try to get this close to schools
Ask your council to publish regular details of recycling efforts and what happens to un recycled materials.
Join local regular exercise groups/clubs
Nationally and Globally
Get Politicians to take up your causes and report back to you what they have achieved or the problems they face. Work with them to overcome these
Organise energy supplies to obtain 100% clean supplies-let’s hear the problems in doing this!
Governments to support healthy diets and living and to support local producers with legislation to supermarkets to use and name local suppliers.
National/Global regular measurements of air/water quality and highlight areas of concern from pollution.
Set legislation with environment as top priority
Bureaucracies to ensure new technologies to reduce consumption and encourage local production are assisted by easy take up from consumers
Work with UN to get global charter to protect environment from all countries.
Environmental rating of Hotels and tourist activities.
About Len Port
Len Port has been a journalist for 50 years, working as a staff reporter, broadcaster and freelance correspondent for many leading news organisations. He covered events in the Far East in the Sixties, and in Northern Ireland and South Africa in the Seventies. Since moving to Portugal in the early Eighties, he has edited regional magazines, contributed to national dailies in Britain and written several books, two of which are currently available as ebooks with Amazon.