BRIT and MOBO-award winning musician Lemar has described a multi-faith Birmingham Cut the Carbon rally at Millennium Point on Bank Holiday Monday as ‘amazing’ - and has backed popular action to pressure governments on global warming.
The rally – jointly organised by Christian Aid and Islamic Relief- brought hundreds of people from across the West Midlands onto the streets of the city, many carrying placards and banners calling on the UK government to ‘Cut the Carbon’ and to do more to stop global warming.
Lemar repeatedly praised the team of 18 Cut the Carbon marchers, who are walking from Northern Ireland to London to highlight climate change and its devastating effect on the poor.
These marchers were at the head of the hundreds of people as they walked into the centre of Birmingham, where they were greeted by the music of nasheed Islamic band SHAAM and by Lemar.
There were young and old, people of all religions, blacks, whites and Asians, everyone joining together for a cause they believed it, said supporters.
Jehangir Malik, acting UK manager of Islamic Relief said: "People of faith and no faith, Muslims and Christians, governments and people must all unite on this issue."
Lemar – who performed songs that included If There’s Any Justice in the World and 50/50 - said after the rally: "I think it was a really successful day. When you are asked to perform in something that’s so worthwhile and so positive and good, it’s a great opportunity."
Compere Russ Morris of Birmingham radio station BRMB said after the show: ‘Coming down here has been a real education. Today has been a great mixing of different cultures and different walks of life.’
Lemar topped the bill in a rally that included Glastonbury award-winning band The Epstein, SHAAM and included Giovanni ‘Spoz’ Esposito – known as Birmingham’s own poet laureate.
Mohammed Adow, aged 28, a marcher from Kenya, told how some women walk for miles in his country to access water. "My country has been ravaged by drought and floods,' he said. 'It’s time to tackle the root cause of climate change rather than just respond to the consequences."
And West Midlands’ grandmother and Cut the Carbon marcher Merryn Hellier, 68, said she wanted to ensure her grandsons inherited the ‘beautiful world’ in which she lived.
"It’s clear now that global warming is happening. But we can do something to stop it. Scientists have given us a window of ten years in which to act. That’s why I’m marching – because we can make a difference."
Catriona Siggers, aged 13, from Sutton Coldfield, the youngest speaker at the rally, said that children too could do something. "The one thing my friends and I agree on is that unless everybody tries to help then we won’t be able to make a difference."
Daleep Mukarji, director of Christian Aid, called on the UK government to commit to cuts of 80 per cent in carbon emissions by the year 2050 and to take an international lead on the issue of climate change.
Supporters and fans enjoyed the day: Phillip Goodchild, a 42 year-old father who was in the crowd said: "It was an excellent event – a good combination of speakers and music."
Jeddah Gadir, aged 43, said: "We feel involved in the march. This has been a great event that has brought everyone together".
And Museret Imran, aged 16, added: "It was a really great performance. It was a really great atmosphere."