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Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Waving not drowning

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 11, and Nell, 8, went travelling around Britain in 2008. Now they're back but still trying to make trips with the lightest possible carbon footprint. Here's how ...

Can you see the blue noses and clotheses (from right to left: Lola and Nell. Ellen, 14, and Andy seen here back home after a day of citizen protest)? There's 20,000 others on the Wave - a march across central London organised by Stop Climate Chaos to highlight the need for politicians to do something about climate change.

Actually the police say 20,000 and the organisers (including Belfast and Glasgow) tell us it is 50,000. Whichever number is correct it is a lot.

Lola, Nell and I have done something similar together enough times to feel that marching for climate justice is one of the tasks in the run up to Christmas. It's our form of spiritual preparation, but this time there are many more people involved. We meet a man who'd come up from Gloucester on his own, see buses from Wales and Dorset, get surrounded by church groups and admire the crowds on TV that set off from Hyde Park after a rousing set of talks. We even have friends staying who have travelled down from Hexham, Northumberland (see pic). Sorting out climate change is one thing, but it is also fantastic to be walking along a traffic free route from (roughly) Green Park tube to Lambeth Bridge.

Next week we will find out if the big turn out does impress politicians at the Cophenhagen meeting who have to seal somekind of carbon dioxide emissions deal.

Pre-march preparation takes Lola, Nell and I to the Royal Academy's pop-up expo on art and climate. It's called Earth: a changing world and was stunning. there's a man futilely making an island in the sea; there's a barbcued polar bear bone turned into a diamond, there's epitaphs and landscape pix and wit. There's Tracey Emin, obviously. And a video of black rain. And performance art with a rapping conculsion. Find it around the back of the Royal Academy (at the old Museum of Mankind, 6 Burlington Gardens). If you're an RA member it's free - and there are no queues. Even if Anish Kapoor, the main attraction is worth seeing, I really don't think I'd be willing to queue when I could enjoy Earth with no crowds at all.

The art show helps us focus. It's clear what's going on worldwide isn't good, and it's clear that we don't know the half of it. Why do factory workers dressed in pink pack pinky chicken? Why do rich Israeli men try to offroad dunes in vast 4x4s? Why are the rubbish piles in China covered in nets and shaped to look like romantic Chinese landscape - or have shrines on them? We also owe a great debt to the educational programe Cape Farewell that takes artists to the Arctic for a look-see (aka cultural response) that seems to inspire astonishing creativity about climate change and the state of our world now.

After the art we join the crowds with our friends Andrew and his daughter Ella, 9. The kids daub blue face paint on nose and cheeks and then get a chant going which peps up our bit of the march. They only stop when we reach Lambeth Bridge. And then at 3pm with Parliament encircled via two bridges (and the climate camp activists apparently camping out or avoiding arrest under Oliver Cromwell's toes) everyone waves their blue hands. And waves, and waves again because we're rioting for austerity measures that will give everyone in the world a better chance.

Meanwhile the news focuses on the 20 million Bangladeshi people who may have to leave their country within 50 years because of sea level rise. David Cameron lashes out at the climate sceptics (particularly David Davis in his own party) and Barak Obama finally agrees to pop into Copenhagen on the first day. See here.

This Saturday we've done something big, and the signs that it may have helped are good. But perhaps that's because we so want them to be. As for Pete, he insisted on going to the West Ham v Man U game (result a shameful home loss of 0:4) but sort of redeemed himself for a no march show by getting climate change mentioned in his fan's view in the Observer, see here.

2 comments:

PennyWalker said...

Hey Nicola! Great that you enjoyed The Wave. We went too, and had a great time. Emily made up her own chants. She also got her mate Raffy to join the virtual mexican wave here: http://www.the-wave.org.uk/with/519/

Becca and her friends went along to show that seriously cool fashionable teens don't want climate chaos either. You can just about make them out in this picture: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2009/dec/06/protest-climate-change?picture=356482863

They're just left of the centre, nearly at the bottom of the grame, just behind the photographer.

:-)

Nice to be including the next generation, isn't it?

Penny

Pete May said...

West Ham's defence proved unsustainable, although at least we never threaten to get into Europe, therefore avoiding continental flights. And I did go to the game by tube…