Hundreds of thousand of people in more than 90 countries are expected to take part in demonstrations this weekend to protest about the failure of politicians to tackle the global environmental crisis.
Organisers say more than 800 events – from marches to street theatre, acts of civil disobedience to mini festivals – will take place in towns and cities amid growing frustration at the lack of meaningful political action over the emerging climate breakdown.
Nick Bryer from campaign group 350.org which is organising the event said: “Politicians are failing. They are still protecting the interests of the fossil fuel companies over the interests of people, despite mounting evidence of the devastation these companies and this system is causing the planet.”
He said the day of global demonstrations was about people around the world “rising up and demanding a different cause of action, a different future which puts people and a sustainable future before the interests of these huge corporations”.
In the UK there are events organisedin cities from London to Wigan, Bradford to Durham.
Jane Thewlis, from Fossil Free West Yorkshire, is organising an event in Bradford.
“We have a brilliant jazz band the Peace Artistes which are well known round here and the focus is divestment and a celebration of what has already been achieved from New York to Ireland.”
Thewlis said the group were campaigning to persuade the five West Yorkshire councils to divest their pension funds from fossil fuels and hoped the event would galvanise support – especially among young people.
“There will be several young people speaking, many of them associated with a group called Hope Rising which is based on a local council estate.”
Thewlis said the same policies that are damaging the lives of poor people in Bradford were driving the destruction of the planet and killing marginalised people around the world.
“These young people are making those links, and that’s why we have specifically got young, working class people of colour to talk on Saturday. We hope that these young people will form their own environmental group following the event and build a sustainable movement.”
One of the biggest protests is expected in Paris where up to 100,000 people are expected. Events in other European cities including Copenhagen, Brussels and Lisbon are also expected to attract tens of thousands of protesters.
The events come ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit that starts in San Fransisco next week and will see politicians and city leaders from around the world gather to discuss the climate crisis.