Thursday, 21 June 2012

ANU Joins 50,000 strong protest at Rio+20

by Julie Melrose

Yesterday at the People's Summit, a separate gathering being run in contrast to the main Rio+20 conference, we heard Indian conservationist Vandana Shiva speak. One of the main things that came across was that she believes the power is in the social networks that we create with each other, and mobilisation of civil society.

Today was the People's March during Rio+20 - and the ANU Student Delegation joined over 50,000 others walking through the streets of Rio de Janeiro demanding social and environmental justice.

Emotions have been running high amongst members of the delegation as the Rio+20 conference proper began today and the magnitude of the conference and what is at stake has hit home. We are all running on very little sleep - coming home late at night from the conference exhausted after very busy and diverse activities during the day. While some of the delegation were at the Rio+20 conference today (Maris was able to get a pass to sit in the Plenary session with the world leaders), some of us chose to do civil society engagement.

We had our banner sprayed at the Peoples Summit on the beach before letting off some steam by marching, singing, dancing and chanting our way around the city in the People's March.

ANU delegates marching with their banner
Julie and Karina whistle blowing at the march

Many people were suprised to read our banner seeing that we were from so far away.  The majority of people in the march seemed to be from Brazilian civil society - chanting and singing things I didn't understand in Portuguese. It didn't matter though, we were so happy to be walking alongside people and feeling a part of something really powerful - the voice of the people who want world leaders to take sustainable development seriously and set us on a better path. 
Brazilian unionists protesting 
Tatiana, Julie, Karina, Tom and Sophia with the ANU delegation banner 

No comments:

Post a Comment