LONDON Skiers, fire-eaters and an ice sculptor joined in worldwide demonstrations Saturday to draw attention to climate change and push governments to take stronger action to fight global warming.
From costume parades in the Philippines to a cyclist's protest in London, marches were held in more than 50 cities around the world to coincide with the two-week U.N. Climate Change Conference, which runs through Friday in Bali, Indonesia.
Hundreds of people rallied in the Philippine capital, Manila, wearing miniature windmills atop hats, or framing their faces in cardboard cutouts of the sun.
"We are trying to send a message that we are going to have to use renewable energy sometime, because the environment, we need to really preserve it," high school student Samantha Gonzales said. "We have to act now."
In Taipei, Taiwan, about 1,500 people marched through the streets holding banners and placards saying "No to carbon dioxide." Hundreds marched outside the conference center in Bali. At a Climate Rescue Carnival held in a park in Auckland, New Zealand, more than 350 people lay on the grass to spell out "Climate SOS."
At the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, ice sculpture artist Christian Funk carved a polar bear out of 15 tons of ice as a memorial to climate protection.
Christmas markets throughout Germany were switching off the lights for five minutes, and British cyclists pedaled into Parliament Square in London. In Helsinki, Finland, about 50 demonstrators ground their skis across the asphalt along the main shopping street, calling for decision makers to give them their snowy winters back.
Fire-eaters blew billowing clouds of flames at a rally in Athens, Greece. In London, demonstrators braved the cold, rainy weather to descend on Parliament Square, wielding signs marked: "There is no Planet B."
"Bush has been forced to change his language on climate, but continues to be the major obstacle to progress," said Britain's Campaign against Climate Change. "We will not just stand by and allow Bush or anyone else to wreck the global effort to save billions of lives from climate catastrophe."
Washington has found itself increasingly isolated at the climate talks. The U.S. position that technology and private investment not mandatory emissions cuts will save the planet has drawn criticism.
But Americans too protested Saturday. In Massachusetts, about 50 demonstrators took a quick "polar bear" plunge into the bracingly cold waters of Walden Pond.
"We want our elected leaders the congressmen, senators and the president to realize that global warming is a serious problem that needs their leadership," organizer Roger Shamel said.
Three protesters dressed in polar bear costumes carried banners that read: "Please save the Earth for our babies."