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Stop Climate Chaos petition and parade

12 Dec 2007

The past week has been one of the busiest of the year for the Stop Climate Chaos coalition. Helen Cantrell, who works for both Friends of the Earth and Stop Climate Chaos reports.

On Thursday 6 December members of Stop Climate Chaos made their way to Government Buildings with Eco-Santa to hand over a 'gift' of 22,847 Stop Climate Chaos petition signatures to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. We barely had time to draw our breath before making our way to our major event of the year on Saturday 8th December, the Stop Climate Chaos Parade for the Planet. It was a miserable wet windy day but despite the inclement conditions over 800 brave souls came out to Sound the Alarm for action on climate change.

Petition Handover

The past week has been one of the busiest of the year for Stop Climate Chaos. On Thursday 6th December, Minister John Gormley announced Ireland's first ever carbon budget, one of the Government actions Stop Climate Chaos has been calling for this year. Also on December 6th, Stop Climate Chaos representatives from Concern, Trocaire, Friends of the Earth, CAIP, National Youth Council of Ireland and Cultivate made their way to Government Buildings with Eco-Santa to hand over a 'gift' of 22,847 Stop Climate Chaos petition signatures to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. The Taoiseach happily posed for photographs and thanked us for the petition acknowledging he understood the amount of work that had gone into collecting them. We also handed him an envelope containing the petition signatures of the 77 TDs who signed the Stop Climate Chaos Call to Action at our 'Carbon Date' event in Buswell's Hotel last month and a copy of the book, 'Carbon Detox'.

Parade for the Planet

Click here for photos of the two events.

After our petition hand over we barely had time to draw our breath before making our way to our major event of the year on Saturday 8th December, the Stop Climate Chaos Parade for the Planet. It was a miserable wet windy day but despite the inclement conditions over 800 brave souls came out to Sound the Alarm for action on climate change. Our MC Gavin Harte did a fantastic job energising the crowd and keeping everyone's spirits up as the clock counted down to 2pm. Volunteers were on hand to give out whistles, shakers, apply temporary tattoos and gather signatures for the petition. Ciara Gaynor from Trocaire highlighted how climate change is already impacting on the poor in developing countries, Senator Ivana Bacik stressed how Ireland must introduce a climate change law and Dave Curran from Student Action on Climate Change underlined the need for urgent action from the goverment to curb Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions.

At 2pm the bells of Christchurch Cathedral, the Pro-Cathedral and bells across the country rang out to signal that the world cannot warm by more than 2 degrees if mankind is to continue living on this planet in comfort and safety. The parade, led by Eco-Santa on a tricycle made its way noisily up Parliament Street, Dame Street, across O'Connell Bridge and along the north quays into the grounds of the Custom House. Miraculously, the rain stopped 30 minutes before the parade commenced and the sun even shone down on us for some of the time.

In the grounds of the Custom House, Minister for Energy, Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamonn Ryan, addressed the assembled crowd articulating how climate change is the greatest crisis of our time. TD Liz McManus from the Labour Party stressed how all political parties must work together to combat climate change. Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trocaire recounted his experience of witnessing first hand the devastation caused to a community in Honduras by a landslide that was brought on by severe weather conditions. Lastly, Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth urged the government to bring in legislation which would underpin the Governments commitments on climate change. As Oisin made his concluding remarks the heavens once again opened and the rain came beating down. However the downpour did not dampen the spirits and resolve of those who had taken part in the Parade for the Planet and thousands more supporters across Ireland who are determined to keep the pressure on our elected leaders in 2008 to rise to the challenge of preventing runaway climate change.

Finally, thanks to everyone who took part in the parade, to the volunteers, stewards and the dozens of people who worked behind the scenes these past few months to make it such a colourful, noisy and successful day. Happy Christmas and see you in 2008!

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