Representatives from across the climate change movement met on campus to promote student and public protest ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
On the 12th of November 2015, Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett, Asas Rehman from Friends of the Earth and representative of the Campaign Against Climate Change Martin Empson, addressed over 100 students and Manchester residents in the Auditorium of St Peter’s Precinct Centre.
The rally was organised by the Socialist Workers Party. It was intended to encourage local lobbying and action on climate change as well as promoting participation in a national demonstration. This comes weeks before the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference and the opportunity to bring about a larger climate movement.
Each speaker had ten minutes to address the audience. Natalie Bennett spoke of taking action and the need to talk about climate change in a way that was not negative, for as Bennett said, “historically the green movement has tended to say right, you’ve all got to change your ways or you’re going to die.”
But rather than solely talking about the need to tackle climate change in isolation, all of the speakers outlined the economic, social and environmental issues facing the UK today. The rally focused on the need to tackle all of these aspects together in order to bring about tangible change.
Following the ten minute speeches from each of the delegates, a heated discussion about future action took place. Emphasis was placed on attending the upcoming Climate Justice + Jobs march in London on the 29th of November 2015, as well as the need to put a local perspective on climate change. Many of the students in attendance were keen to make the event the starting point of a student led campus movement, bringing up questions surrounding the possibility targeting the divestment of university funds from fossil fuels.
Over the next few weeks the climate debate will rear its head into public view. With the possible start of a new grassroots movement, expect more debate, protest and publicity.
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