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Rome, Italy


AVAAZ, WWF, Greenpeace, Lega Ambiente, Mundus maris and others had called citizens to meet at the Colosseum at 16h for a bike ride through the centre.

Climate change is a long-term process, so it is not yet felt by everybody in their daily lives, or is it?

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates some 45 million persons as suffering forced displacement from their homes in 2012, an all-time high. This includes international refugees and internally displaced people. The causes are most violent conflict, persecution, general violence and various human rights abuses.

These in turn are at least partially caused by climate change and various environmental calamities. The current estimate of these people, sometimes labelled as "climate refugees" or "environmental refugees" is in the order of 25 million. The alarming predictions by the UN, charities and some environmentalists, that between 200 million and 1 billion people could flood across international borders to escape the impacts of climate change in the next 40 years are realistic. But case studies in countries such as Bolivia and Senegal indicate that most people suffering from environmental degradation may move inside national borders, not automatically go abroad. But the extent of suffering is huge already and one of the reasons, why we better get active now than wait for worse to come.


In splendid weather the bikers and pedestrians gathered at the Colosseum attracting interest and also support from tourists and bystanders.


The friendly and almost joyful atmosphere contrasted somewhat with the seriousness of the challenge that led to the gathering.


However, everybody was inspired by the sense that together we could do something and tell the politicians to listen to their citizens and make decisive progress at the forthcoming rounds of climate negotiations.


At European level, one of the summits under the rotating Italian presidency of the European Union will address the European position at the global climate talks, So we need to gather additional steam to get Europe back into a leading rather than a laggard position on halting climate change!


Several co-organisers and political figures addressed the crowd at the final meeting on Fori Imperiali exhorting everybody to take strength from achievements so far for the necessary efforts over the coming months and years.

And the good news are that  lots of new employment is being created in the green economy of renewable energies, conservation agriculture, new services compatible with safeguarding our environment, social standards and opportunities for all.

It may be audacious to think that stopping the subsidies currently flowing into the pockets of fossil fuel and other outmoded industries of more than 1 trillion Euro. But reallocating those resources to climate proof economic and social activities, particularly renewable energies, would actually be the surest way to keep temperature increase at the famous 2 degrees considered "safe" or at least manageable. A business as usual scenario right now makes a 4 to 6 degrees increase likely. And nobody knows what a world with such temperature regime would look like.


The representative of AVAAZ handed over the more than two million signatures so far appealing to politicians to agree on effective measures to stop run-away climate change to Ermete Realacci, Italian MP and President of the Parliamentary Commission on the Environment, the Territory and Public Works that has just presented a landmark study on the current situation in Italy. The greatest hope is for the green and climate-proof economy to displace the climate killers - more than 300,000 new jobs are already estimated to show the way to the future.

Photos by C.E. Nauen.