The Time to Act demonstration was called to put climate change at the top of the agenda ahead of the general election in May and the international talks in Paris in December.
The slogans and organisations taking part were diverse.
But many of those marching were clear that stopping greenhouse emissions is possible—and it’s capitalism that stands in the way.
Jordan, a student at the University of Lincoln told Socialist Worker, “The time for debate has passed—we need action.
“The government continues to pour resources into fossil fuels.
“That needs to be diverted elsewhere now.
“It comes down to inequality—those at the top won’t let go of their profits, and that’s why we’re in this mess.”
Kim Hunter and John Atkins had travelled down from York. Kim said, “We need people on the streets now because all the issues are converging.
“The US alone spends a trillion dollars a year on war—imagine what that could do for the planet.”
Rod, an electrician, thought bosses and politicians who wreck the planet should face jail.
He said, “If the scientists are right that we have to keep the warming below two degrees then it’s not looking good.
“This could be our last chance for change.”
The protest was called by the Campaign against Climate Change (CCC) and other organisations.
Suzanne Jeffery from CCC told Socialist Worker the turnout was “fantastic”.
“It’s the second time in seven months that thousands of people have taken to the streets of London against climate change,” she said.
“Politicians can no longer say this is an issue people don’t care about.
“Every opinion poll shows people are worried and think something should be done.
“But thanks to the lies of the fossil fuel industry, many can’t see any alternative. We have to take them on and show that there is a way out.”
Jon Woods, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth North, agreed.
He said, “Capitalism is incapable of saving our planet because profit always comes before people.
“The only way to prevent catastrophic climate change is for people around the world to act together.
“Protests, direct action and strikes can either force our rulers to act or help us get rid of them.
“There is a growing climate change movement and we need to keep building it.”
The final rally was a sea of people outside parliament.
The biggest cheer went to Caroline Lucas MP of the Green Party.
The Greens had a huge presence on the march despite their party’s conference taking place in Liverpool at the same time.
She said, “The policies we want are the ones that will make the world a better and fairer place for everyone.”
Trades Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady sent a message of support.
Chris Baugh from the PCS union also spoke.
He explained that the technology exists to slash emissions now and create jobs in the process, as the CCC’s Million Jobs report makes clear.
There are many challenges ahead for the climate movement.
But it is bouncing back from the demoralisation that followed the disastrous United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009.
And anti-capitalist ideas are getting more and more of a hearing.
In a video message activist and author Naomi Klein told protesters, “We need an economy that is 100 percent powered by renewables.
“We need to transform not just how the power is generated, but who controls it.
“We bailed out the banks—and we’ve paid for it. No way are we bailing out the fossil fuel companies.”
Where next for the climate movement?
A day of debates is set to take place in London around the ideas in activist and author Naomi Klein’s influential book This Changes Everything.
In it she argued that climate change cannot be addressed without taking on the whole system.
The This Changes Everything 2015 conference will take place on 28 March in central London. Klein will be appearing via video link.
There will be discussions around how the climate crisis is linked to war and economic meltdowns—and what is the alternative.
Speakers are set to include Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Asad Rehman from Friends of the Earth.
There will also be representatives from Campaign Against Climate Change and Fuel Poverty Action.
This Changes Everything 2015
Sat 28 Mar, 9am-6pm
Friends Meeting House,
173-177 Euston Rd,
London NW1 2BJ
Tickets available from thischangeseverything.co