From Falkirk High to Copenhagen
Once you have campaigned locally and nationally the next stage is the global stage. After a couple of years of campaigning for strong climate legislation between Falkirk High Street and the Scottish Parliament Friends of the Earth Falkirk wanted to take their campaigning to the next level- to the streets of Copenhagen during the UN climate change talks.

In the run-up to a busy month in December, members of Friends of the Earth Falkirk spoke to local residents and local groups to explain the urgent need for a global agreement to tackle climate change and to demand climate justice. Local people, young and old, were asked to contribute to our community banner for the group to take to the Wave, the climate march in Glasgow, and to the Flood, the Friends of the Earth International march in Copenhagen.

Three people from Falkirk joined 30 people from Friends of the Earth Scotland who took the low-carbon route to Copenhagen, two days travel by train and coach across mainland Europe. Corrie Cuthbertson, Norman Philip and Des Tinney, the Falkirk 3, stopped off at the House of Parliament to meet their MP, Eric Joyce, as they passed through London. This provided an opportunity to lobby on both local issues as well as discuss the need for government action on climate change.

The Friends of the Earth International march in Copenhagen on the morning of Saturday 12th December brought together 5000 FoE activists from across the globe, the majority in blue ponchos, to represent a flood of people demanding climate justice with a single voice. For the Falkirk 3 this was a great inspiration and a reminder of the global network our local group belongs to. The community banner was carried with pride as we flooded through the streets.

In the afternoon we joined the 100,000 strong climate march from the centre of Copenhagen to the conference centre where the climate talks were taking place. Representatives from NGO's, civil society, political parties and the Danish public took to the streets to show the leaders that the people of the world were looking for a global climate agreement. Although the outcomes of the talks were disappointing the politicians could not claim there is not a public mandate for positive action.

Inspired by Copenhagen

The weekend in Copenhagen was an opportunity to hear about so many positive climate solutions which we could promote in Falkirk. On the Sunday there was an international march by the la via campesina, the global peasant movement, which gave a global context to our local food campaign which will be the main focus for the Falkirk group this year. Copenhagen is the cycle capital of the world and every street corner gave us inspirational ideas for what we would like to see in Falkirk. Cycling will definitely be a FoE Falkirk campaign this year. We have come back with so many ideas for this year that you will just have to join our group or attend our events to keep up with the developments. All environmental groups will continue to campaign on climate change and we will be demanding climate justice, with the echo of the chants from the streets of Copenhagen in our ears.

Norman Philip

Check out more photographs at http://www.flickr.com/people/foefalkirk/


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