The Earth’s climate has changed, and global warming has been affecting the lives of millions. In the case of the people in Thailand, it is the livelihoods of the fishermen and the coastal communities that are being threatened by climate change. Local communities have also suffered from episodes of heavy rain, which has caused unwanted flood events.

Crowd demonstrating outside of the UN building
Picture by Kiara Worth

On the 8th of September, people from all around the world took part in the Rise For Climate march held in their respective countries. Here in Bangkok, I witnessed the very first climate action in my life and had the privilege to take part in it. On my way to the United Nations building, demonstrators were seen crouching by the walkway, turning plain white sheets of paper into meaningful banners.

The banners and flags were held high by demonstrators from all over the world, demanding their respective governments to end the use of fossil fuels and transition to using clean energy, in which a Japanese demonstrator has called out “Heavy rain and typhoons had just happened a few days ago, and I can’t possibly go back to Japan because the airport is broken. We need a fossil-free society that will stop air pollution and catastrophic climate change.”

“In Bangkok now, we have many episodes of heavy rain, and it has never happened before. Even with our neighbouring countries, we can see floods due to heavy rains” a Thai lady said.

A fisherman demonstrating for #riseforclimate 

Along with crowds that were clutching onto banners, the people of Thailand had laid out coals on the road to demand for clean energy, while farmers presented their yield to demand for climate justice.

Holding on to her produce, a young fisherwoman explained “Climate change has increased soil salinity, and the farmers’ crop yield have been affected by it. We are also affected by climate change, there are often no fishes, and the prices of fishes have increased, burdening the local people.”

“Everything that has been done is all for the future. Who is there to inherit the future but us youth? We need people inside and outside the UN to make sure they fight for a future where all of us are equal” youth representative calls.

Whilst demonstrating outside of the UN building, it got me thinking, that while demonstrators were standing out under the scorching sun to demand for climate justice, negotiators were sitting in air-conditioned and comfy conference rooms, discussing on the grammatical errors on documents. Will the text on the Paris Agreement help at all? Maybe (not). At the end of the day, it is the action that counts.

Written by Kitty Chen
Peer reviewed by Syahirah Aron