Various local groups got involved in different ways to get the message across that the heat needs to be taken off the planet. See page 3 for reports of local activities. Unfortunately, it seems we were not heeded as the talks ended in deadlock with no reductions agreed.
After an 8am breakfast, we marched in the company of hundreds of other flag waving, banner toting activists through the streets to the Conference Centre where we stopped to hear speeches. I was moved to hear accounts by "climate witnesses" relating first hand experiences of the devastating effects of climate change. These included a young man from Honduras who told how Hurricane Mitch had wrecked his entire country and put it back 50 yrs. More chilling was the account of an ice storm from a Canadian woman. This happened in the middle of winter a couple of years ago and caused massive power failure which plunged several hundred thousand people into a nightmare of darkness and biting cold for weeks. Life in part of a Western country became a desperate search for food and warmth. No one is safe from the effects of climate change.
By now even more people had arrived from all over the world and numbers were in the region of 5000. The main event began. This consisted of building a huge dyke out of sand bags around the Conference Centre. This was visible to the delegates inside and formed a symbol of global warming and the effects of rising sea levels - particularly appropriate for a country like Holland where large areas are below sea level. After about 2 hours work, the dyke attained the required height of 1.5 metres and half a kilometre in length. The Dutch Environment Minister came out to hear our demands for countries to implement proper policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and accepted a sand bag which he promised to take in to the Conference! While all this was going on, the world's media were interviewing activists, filming, taking pictures and generally sending our message all around the world.
That night there was a big party and a huge cheer went up when the video screen showed Dutch TV's coverage of the action. Overall this was a great event. I found it very motivating to meet so many people from all walks of life who recognised the threat to our planet from climate change and were prepared to do something about it.