It was a balmy 23 in leafy Oranjezicht, perfect weather for the #PeoplesClimate march, part of the global actions leading up to the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York City on Tuesday. Lots going on in Cape Town today – the Open Book Festival, the Cape Town marathon. I tore myself away from the former and dodged the latter, and headed up to the Oranjezicht City Farm for the Cape Town event. Me and … well, just a couple of hundred people.
It was a low-tech event – no microphones, just a few low-key speeches – but we were there. Kids ran around with painted faces and someone handed out fruit. We signed petitions to be delivered to Parliament on Tuesday, and for the Mayor’s Office. No doubt about it, the setting was great, under the leafy trees of the city farm site.
At 12H30 a small band of marchers set off down Upper Orange street under one brave banner, heading for Parliament a couple of kilometres away. To the bemusement of some of the good citizens of Cape Town watching from their pavement cafe spot, wine glasses glistening with condensation. Others stayed to wander around the farm itself, a wonderful initiative for urban eco gardening, always inspiring.
But the point of all of this is to put pressure on world leaders to make some really significant commitments on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and on funding adaptation in developing and vulnerable countries. I’m afraid that if this is the best we can do, in Cape Town, which prides itself on having good eco-credentials and awareness, then I’m a little worried. All credit to those of us who made it out there today,and to the organisers. But it’s hard to not see this as a lukewarm response to a red-hot problem. Time to turn up the heat, Capetonians!