On Sunday, November 29th, more than 700,000 people across the globe joined actions to demand that world leaders take real actions to stop climate change. 50,000 in London. 45,000 in Sydney. 8,000 in Madrid. Thousands and hundreds in cities and towns across the planet, and Honolulu was in the mix.
Almost 200 people converged at the Kalakaua statue at the intersection of Kalakaua and Kuhio for a signholding, followed by a march through Waikiki. The weather was beautiful, belying the seriousness of climate change and the fact that the land we were standing on will be underwater if decisive action is not taken to divert a catastrophic climate crisis.
The crowd was diverse, and most people brought their own creative signs. "Stop Fossil Fools." "Save the Arctic" "Lives Not Profit", Capitalism is Destroying the Planet; We Need a Revolution", "No to Next Era" "Save the Pacific Islands" and dozens more. Many people stopped to take photos of World Can't Wait's beautiful banner: "Humanity and the Planet Come First." Keiki crowded around a polar bear for a photo, and everywhere people were talking about their concerns and possible solutions.
The march, which went along Kalakaua Avenue through Waikiki, was loud and colorful. People made up chants as they went and passed out leaflets to pedestrians on the sidewalk. One side of the street was led by a spirited group of Pacific Islanders who drew focused on the urgency of acting now to save their island homes.
The march ended at the Gandhi statue in front of the Honolulu Zoo, where organizers had set up a tent, stage and sound system and marchers. As marchers settled in on the lawn to listen to the rally, Liko Martin and Laulani Teale sang songs about climate change and their love for the `aina. Many of the beginning talks at the rally focused on Hawai`i issues: NextEra, renewable energy, and current laws but the urgency of the day was really made real by Chamorro poet, Craig Santos Perez, who spoke of the destruction caused and being caused by the U.S. military in Pacific island nations and challenging people see the interconnectedness of militarism with climate change, and protest both.
World Can't Wait Hawai`i's spokesperson, Liz Rees, closed the rally with a powerful talk addressing the hypocrisy of Obama and placing the blame for the global climate change squarely on the system of capitalism-imperialism. She ended with a challenge to the audience to see the interconnectedness of all of the attacks on the people: militarism, climate change, police terror, and more, and to build resistance to all attacks.
Following are a few photos: