Cycle advocates call for climate action, support talks in Paris

Reuters

Posted at Nov 15 2015 08:00 PM

Thousands of cyclists gather for the 16th Tour of the Fireflies on Sunday for a 31-kilometer bike ride from Tiendesitas in Pasig City to Quezon Boulevard and back. Photo by Jhun Dantes for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA -- The annual Tour of the Fireflies took to the streets of Metro Manila on Sunday, promoting bicycles as an alternative means of transportation and supporting the climate talks in Paris despite the attacks that killed 129 people.

More than 10,000 bikers joined the tour along the capital's main highways, calling for cleaner air and a more habitable city.

"What we want are for drivers, riders of motorized vehicles to take mass transport, or to walk or take bicycles," president of the Firefly Brigade, Jack Yabut, said.

As campaigners for climate action, they supported the continuance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP21 in Paris later this month, despite the terror attacks.

"If you're doing something for a good cause, I think people should not be afraid. And the same is true with world leaders. They should set an example to everybody, around the world, that terrorism cannot deter them in their efforts against climate change," Firefly Brigade officer Erik Vergara said.

The Firefly Brigade is a volunteer action group formed in 1991 to campaign for clean air and a sustainable environment. Its name recalls the old days when fireflies, an indicator of clean air, swarmed the city.

The group also aims to cultivate a "bicycle-riding culture" by pushing for the construction of bike lanes, bike parking and bike racks.

Notorious for traffic congestion, Manila is home to around 2 million registered motor vehicles.