On Saturday 14 July, the international development agency Christian Aid will launch the longest ever UK protest march, backed by celebrities including singers Lemar and Amy Macdonald and actors Leonardo Di Caprio and Katie Leung, as part of its Climate Changed campaign.
The Cut the Carbon March is an eleven week 1,000 mile trek across the UK starting in Northern Ireland and ending in London on 2 October 2007.
The 18 ‘core’ walkers who will complete the entire distance, come from the UK and developing countries which Christian Aid is helping to adapt to climate change. Walkers representing Kenya, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, El Salvador, Bangladesh, Philippines, and Tajikistan will carry messages about the impact of global warming in their countries and encourage members of the public to join the national campaign and make personal commitments to reducing their carbon footprint.
The walkers will also be asking people to sign a petition for the Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling for:
• A law to make UK companies declare their CO2 emissions
• A new UN climate agreement to be negotiated at the Bali conference in December 2007
The petition can also be signed by texting ‘CUT’ to 84880.
In keeping with the theme of walking, Christian Aid is encouraging members of the public to contribute to a ‘shoelace petition’. In return for old shoelaces they will be sent special issue ‘Cut the Carbon’ shoelaces featuring the March logo. The target is 1,000 miles of shoelaces and they will be presented to Number 10 with the written petition. Supporters can text ‘LACE’ to 84880 to join the petition and get your special ‘Cut the Carbon’ laces (texts cost £1.50).
The march will visit 70 towns and cities and more than 50,000 people are expected to join the walkers on parts of the route and attend major events. Rallies will be taking place in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and London.
Paul Brannen, head of campaigns at Christian Aid, explained: "Climate change is the most serious threat to humanity. Poor people in the least developed countries are already dying as a result of floods, droughts and conflict over scarce resources, such as water, that are becoming scarcer as the planet heats up."
He added: "They need our help to tackle climate change by reducing emissions, through individual actions and by putting pressure on the UK government to pursue climate-friendly national and international policies."