MORE THAN 350 people rode bicycles from Siem Reap town to Angkor Wat last Saturday afternoon to raise awareness about climate change, ahead of the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.
Oppressive weather conditions and minor misunderstandings with the Apsara Authority over access to the temples didn’t stop the crowd enjoying what was one of more than 5,200 activities orgainised in 181 countries as part of International Day of Climate Action on October 24.
The Singing Tree Cafe’s Michael Batura, one of the organisers, said it was a successful outing.
“There were lots of children and it was a great day. It was quite hot and a bit like trying to herd cats, but we got there in the end,” he said.
“Photographer John McDermott climbed on top of a van to take some photos of us in front of Angkor Wat, and some people were carrying the prayer flags that we had painted in the morning. It was probably the biggest global climate change action ever organised, so it was a great feeling to be a part of it.”
One participant, expat Stuart Cochlin, said he was pleased at the number of Khmer people involved.
“What was very good was that it was about 80 percent Khmer, 20 percent expats, which was very refreshing, particularly for something to do with the environment. There was also local Khmer media and that was good.”
The Siem Reap gathering was part of a worldwide initiative, coordinated by global grassroots action group 350. The number refers to 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, regarded by some scientists as a safe upper limit, which has already been exceeded.