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Activists at COP26 on Why They Marched

The time for negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 has handed the midway mark. There’s just some days left for world leaders to conform to commitments that can change the course of the local weather disaster and maintain world temperatures in verify. You can learn extra about what has been introduced to date right here.

But the summit, which is operating from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, isn’t just in regards to the heads of state, diplomats, and dignitaries concerned in high-level decision-making within the “Blue Zone” space of the summit  – as essential as these discussions are. It’s additionally essential to contemplate what is going on outdoors, within the unofficial areas and on the streets across the convention, the place atypical individuals from all around the world are preventing arduous to make their voices heard.

Visitors to Glasgow proper now will discover town full of devoted individuals brimming with artistic concepts about easy methods to remedy the local weather issues the world is going through — from nature-based options, to slicing emissions, to making sure that communities on the entrance traces of local weather change get the assist they want. And after all not all of those individuals have entry to probably the most unique conferences. 

The power that activists and anxious residents have delivered to COP26 was galvanised at an enormous protest by means of Glasgow metropolis centre on Nov. 6, which an estimated 100,000 people took part in. The demonstration came about alongside lots of of different occasions in cities in international locations around the globe as a part of a Global Day of Action for Climate Justice

Global Citizen joined marches in London and Glasgow to inform world leaders it’s #NowOrNever to make the proper choices and do what it takes to maintain world warming inside 1.5 degress Celsius. 

We spoke to a number of different activists we met whereas marching about why they have been at COP26, why they have been protesting, and extra. Here’s what they mentioned. 

Tishiko King, Torres Strait Islands: ‘We Need Urgency this Decade’

Tishiko.jpgPhoto credit score: Helen Lock for Global Citizen

Tishiko King was strolling alongside fellow protestors from island nations, all of whom face an existential risk from rising sea ranges and have come to COP26 to emphasize the urgency of the disaster.

“I’m a proud Kulkalaig woman from the Kulkalaig nation — in English that’s known as the Torres Strait Islands, and we are First Nations Australians.

I’ve come very far from our little islands. We’re all here representing the Pacific region and the islands we came from. Unfortunately, our political leaders are failing to protect and safeguard First Nations people and also our brothers and sisters in the Pacific islands and nearby Asian countries.

I’ve been here for the full week so far, and it’s been a bit spicy around the summit as world leaders have gathered. We’ve been trying to pile the pressure on our world leaders to take more action and especially on the Australian leaders — they are not making enough effort. At the end of the day the 2050 targets are not enough, we need urgency this decade because our island nations are drowning. I’m having to pick up and rehouse the bones of my ancestors because sea level rises are washing away our ancient burial sites and sacred grounds.

I feel patriotic to my people today and I got blessings from elders this morning online before the march. There are people from over 150 islands supporting us today. We’re still living in an uncertain landscape, and more than ever it is young people who need to come and be here because it’s risky and unsafe for our elders to travel. They’ve been advocating since colonisation, so the younger generation I’m part of needs to take over these responsibilities now.

I’m super proud to be able to stand in solidarity not only with my First Nations brothers and sisters but to the community here too, with Glaswegians, they’ve really opened their hearts and made us feel welcome. We’re here. This is a city of resistance, and they’ve really welcomed us.” 

Nicky Ong, The Netherlands: ‘I Came Here to Gather Hope’

NickyOng.jpgPhoto credit score: Helen Lock for Global Citizen

Nicky Ong is a author from the Netherlands who travelled to Glasgow by boat and practice so she may volunteer at workshops being held by the COP26 Coalition, an organisation made up of environmental NGOs, group teams, and civil society organisations. The coalition organised the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice and ran a “People’s Summit” of digital and in-person free occasions alongside the official summit.

“I’ve come right here from the Netherlands. I’m a author, and I write quite a bit about local weather change, and I’m within the course of of constructing a efficiency about it now so I believed I want to come. Back house there’s some motion happening [to mark the COP26 summit] however I needed to be proper the place it was taking place so I got here right here and signed as much as volunteer.

I’m drained proper now as a result of it took 30 hours as I got here by practice, bus, and boat and arrived final night time. So I’m actually recent at the summit, that is my first full day. I’m volunteering with the COP26 Coalition, which is nice as a result of it focuses on teams that aren’t heard sufficient however that the summit ought to hear from.

It’s humorous as a result of I truly got here right here to Glasgow to attempt to collect some hope, as a result of I felt like I misplaced it, however I already really feel like I’ve regained it simply coming right here in the present day and seeing how many individuals are out right here.

Another motive I travelled right here is as a result of I need to study extra. I really feel like the difficulty of local weather change is so huge, there are the environmental points however there are social justice points too and I needed to study extra about that. The COP26 Coalition can be internet hosting a People’s Summit over the subsequent few days, so I’m going to be concerned in serving to host some workshops for that. It’s going to be a busy few days, I’m excited!”

Anna Warren and Serena Jemmett from Glasgow and Manchester, UK: ‘Youth Haven’t Been Included’ 

AnnaAndSerena.jpgPhoto credit score: Helen Lock for Global Citizen

Anna (20), on the proper, is from Glasgow and learning at the University of Strathclyde and her good friend Serena (19), on the left, has travelled from Manchester for the protest. They each volunteer with the Children’s Humans Rights Network at Amnesty International.

Anna: “I think the actions at COP26 have been disappointing. Not surprising but really disappointing. And it’s the people who have been most affected by climate change that have been the most likely to be excluded from the talks so far.

However, today definitely showed hope. You see so many organisations out representing. There are people here from everywhere, on the subway here at the start of the march, there were people from Copenhagen and Germany standing behind me who were here as activists or covering it as media. It’s exciting to see.

As someone who lives in the city the experience of hosting COP26 has been mixed. It’s been strange in the lead up to it, a bit frustrating as well, there have been changes to accommodate it. For example, my university has gone back online [rather than COVID-19 restrictions being lifted alongside with national lockdown lifting] because of COP26. 

It has sometimes felt like it’s not for the people of Glasgow, we’re being pushed aside for these big world leaders to come and make fake promises. But today has made it feel a bit more worth it.”

Serena: “I think it’s been a cop out, it’s such a greenwash event. It’s supposed to have been the most inclusive COP so far in terms of youth inclusion and youth delegates, but there has been a huge disparity because they are not actually letting youth delegates into the Blue Zone [the part of the summit where politicians are convening]. What is the point of the Blue Zone and the Green Zone? There should just be one area and it should be accessible to all. 

There have been other issues with access too, earlier in the week we saw that an Israeli minister couldn’t get access because she was in a wheelchair, for example. They are blaming a lot of the issues on COVID-19 measures, but I think that is quite lazy, they could have put more effort into putting safe-guarding in place while still including people. 

It relates to some of the work I’ve done with Amnesty, I’ve written about it and I helped change the safeguarding rules within Amnesty to make it more inclusive. And from that work I can say organisations can improve access most of the time but it’s just a bit more work you know? It’s a bit more paperwork but it’s definitely possible to do. 

Today has been wet, it’s been pouring down. But it’s good to see. Activism can feel isolating and we’re campaigning on very depressing topics, but we’re feeling a bit more uplifted here. You’re surrounded by like-minded people and you feel encouraged to continue pushing and you feel a bit of hope.” 

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