Sunday, 25 October 2009

Big 5 London - a 350 International Day of Climate Action event

Yesterday, I traveled to London to partake in the Big 5 event, one of more than 5200 events slated to take place in 181 countries as part of the International Day of Climate Action. I set out with minimal expectations and a curiosity about what I was going to find: would the event be well run? how many people would be there? would we be making one of those square-edged, digital looking fives or a nice round one? Turns out it was quite well run, there was a nice big group of people in attendance and the five was lovely and rounded. Roz Savage, one of my eco adventurer ocean kayaking heroes, spoke. I introduced myself to her afterwards. The next leg of her journey across the Pacific takes her from Hawaii to Tarawa, one of the Kiribati islands. I will be paying some attention to her website (podcasts and blogs) from her journies to help enlighten my wonderings about what it's like to be alone in the middle of the ocean.

Total time spent in Jubilee Gardens where the 5 was formed was about 75 minutes. The rest of the time in London was spent showing my Kazakh flatmate some of the sites: Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's, various bridges along the Thames. I didn't go into St Paul's but rather waited outside while she explored. I didn't want to be inside. Despite having a gloomy, drizzly morning, the afternoon was turning out to be quite nice. The cloud cover broke up and the sun started to shine through. I sat outside and enjoyed the air. Then we met up with my friend Laura, a former flatmate, for dinner. After dinner, a trip to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus and an HMV for the House Season 1 DVDs.

It was great to visit London, to be a part of the global day of action that I'd be hearing about for almost two years and to see Laura. I didn't realize it at the time, but I felt a bit of relief to be in a real city, a major city, where stores are open past 5:30 and public transport is everywhere. While all those things are true, my more conscious thought was that while London is nice for all of the above reasons, I really missed the trees, the meadow, the open space here in Colchester. The craving for nature may have been strengthened by my time spent in a concrete square in front of St Paul's. Or maybe it was walking by the river that is all walled in. Or brought about by a sense of sympathy and respect for the small trees that were planted in the sidewalk around the cathedral. What I miss most is trees. Trees are the feature that my eye seeks out most these days. They are what my being craves at the moment. DC, Takoma, was great for trees. LA, not so much. Colchester, better than London. Better, but still, I want a forest.

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