Of course, I think, this must account for the relatively low turnout at the demonstration in London. But I unfortunately think this is not the only – possibly not even main reason. In his latest book (Heat, 2006), Monbiot thinks the energy lobbies and the denial industry are not the only ones to blame. He also emphasizes our own contradictions. As most people in the rich countries will realise that Climate Change is indeed happening, he fears that "our response will be to demand that the government acts, while hoping that it doesn't. We will wish our governments to pretend to act. We get the moral satisfaction of saying what we know to be right, without the discomfort of doing it. My fear is that the political parties in most rich nations have already recognized this. They know that we want tough targets, but that we also want those targets to be missed. They know that we will grumble about their failure to curb climate change, but that we will not take to the streets. They know that nobody ever rioted for austerity" (p.41-42).
Is it possible that the combined force of our own contradictions and that of the "denial industry" explains the numbers of protesters at the rally? Should we despair? No! Many positive things have recently happened: the Stern report; the hope brought by a bill in this year's Queen's speech (unbelievable a few months ago!); the numbers of protesters in Trafalgar square: about twice as many as last year; the fact that more and more people and organisations are bridging their differences and uniting to lobby the government into taking action now. Moreover, the future is not written. Monbiot's fear are grounded, but we face an entirely new challenge: history does not repeat itself, and even though we should not wish to see rioting for austerity, as he puts it, let's hope that through consciousness-raising, education, lobbying, more and more people will join the movement, and pressure governments into tackling Climate Change (by setting annual targets of 3% CO2 emission reduction) and energy waste. Who knows? We might be 2 millions in the streets next year?