Climate March – Manchester – S Dutson
Sandra Dutson gives a moving account of the climate march and what it means to her.
Today is September 23rd 2014. Over the last few days people all round the world have been out on the streets to urge the UN Conference being held to day in New York to address the reality of climate change and take the steps which may be drastic but are vitally necessary to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
On Sunday I took part in the Manchester Climate change march and rally. This was particularly focussed on getting messages over to the Labour Party conference currently meeting in Manchester. It also focussed on the concerns of the NW area about the threat of fracking for shale gas in this area. Several companies have been given permissions to conduct exploratory drilling for shale and coal bed methane and this has provoked serious protest. The depth of concern in this area can be judged by fact that there was a stream of speakers at the rally, all impassioned, and that the speeches continued for well over an hour with a large crowd still there listening.
September 23rd is also a kind of anniversary for me personally. 10 years ago I was waking up in hospital and facing the amputation that day of my left arm because of an unusual cancer. I had been prepared for several weeks that this was a possibility but this was confirmed by the surgeon only on the morning of the operation. The type of cancer involved does not respond well to chemotherapy and it most usually spreads to lungs and rapidly becomes fatal. So my choice was very starkly to lose my arm or lose my life.
10 years on I am very grateful I chose ‘life’.
It also seems to me there are parallels with the choice the world has to make in the face of climate change. If we go on hanging on to our dependence on fossil fuels then we will destroy the precious life this unique planet sustains.
Outside the friends Meeting House in Manchester, very near the arena where the Labour conference is meeting, the current wayside thought reads. ‘LIVE SIMPLY AND SIMPLY LIVE’. My own experience is that what actually makes life so precious are often very simple things, the love and care of family and friends, and delights of sharing a walk in lovely surroundings or conversation over a simple meal or drink. Losing fossil fuels may well feel like losing a limb, and we may wonder whether we can cope but in fact life – in all its fullness – can continue.
I hope and pray our leaders do implant that message deep within their hearts so their minds can get to grips with the reality of what is needed in terms of action.
See reports of marches attended by other CEL members in September 2014