Over 800 people in Cardiff braved the rain last weekend to show their support for climate change action, in a series of international rallies.
‘Pedal for the planet’ saw participants cycle from the city centre to the Senedd in the bay as part of a mass bike ride. Speeches were given outside the assembly building by prominent local figures including comedian Dan Mitchell and Labour AM Alun Davies.
Participants also carried banners and signs calling for the government to ‘stop climate change’ and ‘give our children a future’.
Talking to Gair Rhydd, Mitchell described the the rally as a “great success”, stressing that despite the rain “hundreds of people turned up, galvanised by the cold and wet because they all believe that something needs to be done.”
He also praised those who gave speeches and stated that “the sheer multitude and range of the speakers showed that even if you may not agree with everyone’s opinion or beliefs on most subjects, on the day we all had one thing in common.”
The comedian decided to host the rally due to his belief “in the cause” and said that he was “glad to help”.
When asked what more could be done in the Welsh Assembly Government to help tackle climate change, he suggested that “the regulation of energy supplies is one area they could work on.”
Mitchell continued: “They could encourage a range of innovative projects; such as more innovative renewable energies, which would help the people of Wales and the environment.”
During the rally leader of the Welsh Green party Pippa Bartolotti also underlined the need for change as as she told the crowds: “We know the facts, and we say this to Paris, to our Government. Please change.”
According to Wales Online, Bartolotti moved on to criticise the government over what she described as negotiations that are “not about what is good for us, the people”.
This was followed by a speech given by Head of Christian Aid Wales Huw Thomas, who warned of the poverty caused by climate change: “If we don’t tackle climate change as a planet, we will never make poverty history, we’ll make it permanent. That circle of violence and injustice will deepen further.”
Hosted only days before the start of the COP21 talks in Paris, ‘Pedal for the planet’ aimed to pressure politicians to take action against climate change during the largest gathering of world leaders in history.
The event was organised by the group Stop Climate Chaos Cymru, who described it as an opportunity for Wales to “stand up with the world to demand that world leaders agrees on a Fair Climate Deal”.
It was attended by groups including NUS Wales, who appealed for students to join and “raise your voice for our planet”.
Although the action in Cardiff was one of many protests to take place across the U.K, the rally received national media attention.
Others gathered in Edinburgh and London to demonstrate the need for the government to act against climate change, as part of 2,500 protests globally.
Of these, the largest took place in London, as approximately 50,000 people turned up to demand immediate action by world leaders. The march saw participants carry coffins adorned with BP oil logos accompanied by the slogan ‘killers’.
The event was hailed as “a fantastic display of people power” by Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett.