The Moratorium and the National Day of Climate Action
|Melbournians heading to the rally|
I'm old enough to remember 1971 well. An image that has always stayed with me from that year is of Jim Cairns, the mastermind of the Moratorium movement against the Vietnam War, marching at the head of 100,000 Melbournians up Collins Street. It was a spectacle I never expected to see again, so this morning as I stepped down from the tram at the corner of Collins St and looked about me to see the street crammed with people dressed in 'hot colours' heading to the National Day of Climate Action rally in the Treasury Gardens, I felt overcome by emotion. I stopped myself from crying because I didn't want to embarrass the family, but only just.
In part my tears were because today evoked that earlier triumph. But they were also because I've been saying to myself for a long time that if a Moratorium-like crowd ever comes to the defence of Mother Earth, I'll know my 'cock-eyed' optimism isn't so cock-eyed after all.
|Standing room only|
The speakers were great, or at least those I could hear were. The crowd was so dense that it wasn't always possible to get close enough to the stage to hear them and I certainly never caught a glimpse of Mark Butler, the Federal Shadow Minister for the Environment, Tim Flannery, who received an impassioned welcome, or our very own Adam Bandt. There were other speakers too, whom I'm sure were equally eloquent and rousing, but for me the power of the event lay elsewhere.
I just loved being surrounded by such a vast number of people, who, like me, feel Tony Abbott has no mandate to turn back the clock and destroy our environment.
|What about their future indeed?|
Participants were marvellously inventive and once again the signage was a work of art. This was one of my favourites -
|She is indeed!|
I had only one disappointment, and I need to say from the outset that I might have got it wrong. I never heard Adam Bandt, who is a stalwart opponent of the East-West Link, mention the Tunnel and its implications for the environment. As I say, he might have done so at some point and I missed it; if that is the case, please excuse this whinge, Adam. East-West protestors were certainly there -
|Making our presence felt|
It would just seem to me a highly significant wasted opportunity if our Federal Minister didn't put in a plug for the anti-Tunnel battle.
I can hardly wait to see the news tonight.
A lot has changed since 1971. There is no single leader at the head of the cause as there was back them. Instead, there are myriad individuals and interest groups, some of whom got to speak at the microphone, others whose costumes or signage reflected their own special concerns. And this time we are not going in to bat for one beleaguered country but the whole planet.
But what's similar was that there were photographers well-positioned to take some great shots.
|Up amidst the tree tops|
Let's hope they manage to capture the thrill and promise of this very special day. If not, I'm sure I won't be the only one for whom it is already emblazoned on the mind's eye.