Protests across the world
On Saturday the 6th of November I joined 100,000,s of people across the world to demand that politicians and global leaders agree policies that reduce global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Reports in Glasgow where Cop 26 is taking place of 100,000 people demonstrating in Glasgow centre. I participated in Birmingham. Reports estimated that between 2000-3000 people marched through Birmingham to Climate Justice. I marched with fellow campaigners from Birmingham Friends of the Earth. Between 20-30 of us from BFOE took part. We met at the Warehouse and collected our placards.
We then moved onto the starting place for the march, Millennium Point. There were people on a stage trying to address the crowd, but unfortunately the P.A had not arrived, meaning we could not hear them talk. It was nice to see so many people out ready to protest. Many familiar faces from other social justice groups, along with many others, including a good number of young people. Behind us there was an incredible sculpture of a that was carried through the city centre.
Marching through Town
Our march began with us being in the Biodiversity block. The march route was through Moor Street into the heart of the city centre, by the German Markets. There were plenty of chants and waving of placards. It was an honour for me to carry the Birmingham Friends of the Earth banner through the streets of Birmingham. This banner was created for our previous campaign on air pollution and active transport, which I was the lead campaigner on. Many people who were going about their normal Saturday afternoons saw what we were doing. The inventiveness of the costumes was top notch too, with a special shout out to a guy dressed as Schmell, a Shell parody of the companies attempt at greenwashing. There was also a direct action stunt of some activists dressed as medics working in A and E trying and failing to resuscitate the earth. We marched in a loop and ended up back at Millennium Point. Happily the P.A had arrived by this time! We heard from a range of speakers including Birmingham Youth Strike 4 Climate, and Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s Toqueer.
Each speaker talked about why it was important for them to be there and about what we need to do next. There will also be a follow up meeting to discuss how we keep up the pressure on our global leaders, especially as it is revealed that the single largest delegation at Cop 26 is from the fossil fuel industry.
Why is Cop 26 important?
We know that even a 2 degrees Celsius increase in the global temperature will be catastrophic for a billion people. A report today released by Climate Action Tracker showed that we are on course for a 2.4 degrees Celsius rise. Politicians are currently saying the right things about how important it is to move away from a fossil fuel based economy, but there is a lack of definitive action. Saying the right things is easy, enacting policies that will help mitigate the worst effects of the Climate Emergency is much more difficult. We know that to achieve this we need to invest heavily in energy efficiency in our buildings, move away from car driving as the norm (EVs won’t save us) priotising, public transport as well as walking and cycling. We also need to shift away from fossil fuel production for our power generation. Technology won’t save us, a radical reshaping of our society is the only way to deliver Climate Justice. Those that have the power to enact these structural changes to our societies are in Glasgow right now, with the worrying exceptions of China and Russia. We must continue to keep the pressure on our leaders to ensure they know that we want radical change.
Be part of the change that you want to see
If you have been inspired by the march and would like to know how you can help affect change. The number one thing you can do is campaign. Find a cause that you are interested and join with other people working towards that same goal. For example, Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaign on a whole host of issues; from air pollution to the loss of biodiversity in our city.
All Photos courtesy of Libby Harris