So yesterday, to my great excitement, the Climate Strikes came to Bigtown which meant a) I got to go on a demo I hadn’t organised and b) I got to watch a group of young people figure out in real time how to run an effective protest – they learn fast, these kids. Even if they probably need to work a little on their chanting (and they definitely need waterproof paint for their signs if they’re going to keep protesting in South West Scotland) I’m pretty confident that by next month they’ll be a well-oiled machine, or at least they’ll manage to look that way.*
In a way, that might even be a shame, because the best bit for me was when we all spontaneously decided to take the protest through the streets of Bigtown without so much as a risk assessment, event management plan, or meeting with the police to agree a suitable route. Sometimes it truly is better to ask permission than forgiveness.
I’ll be back, and this time I might even make my own (impeccably punctuated) sign, instead of borrowing one from a generous Young Person.
You’d think the planet would be grateful for my concern over its climate and perhaps reward me for my efforts by providing a nice tailwind the next time I had an epic (for me, I appreciate that for some people 5 miles on a bike is epic and for some people 54 miles is a nice lunchtime pootle) ride to a not-that-nearby town for a meeting. Indeed, the weather forecast suggested that that was exactly what we would get – a nice Northeasterly as we headed 18 miles south west, swinging back round to the west as we headed home (accompanied by persistent heavy rain and/or sleet, but we’ll draw a veil). Clearly this was never going to happen, but I hadn’t appreciated just how much it wasn’t going to happen until we turned onto the cycle path half a mile in and were nearly blown backwards. For the next 2 and a quarter hours we had the wind in our faces the whole way, gusting up to 40 mph. Let’s just say that we got to our meeting with barely 5 minutes to spare, looking more than windswept, and (on my part at least) unable to string a sentence together for the next 10 minutes.
Some people might call that a result …
* People keep telling me Pedal on Parliament looks like a well-oiled machine, which is enough to make a cat laugh, so I’m aware that there’s a difference.