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On the eve of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, local climate activists in Lancaster showed their support for climate change action at the ‘People’s Parade for Climate Action.’
Supporters met in Dalton Square at 1pm on Saturday the 30th of November, sporting green-themed hats and colourful banners that accompanied their chants for the removal of reliance on fossil fuels and desire for immediate action in response to climate change.
They then led a march through the city to Market Square and then to Lancaster castle with the ‘Red Rebels’ – a performative activist arts group who were created in response to the climate crisis.
They were hoping to leave a message from the Wild Card Campaign about the rewilding of royal lands on the castle doors but were stopped by security when attempting to do so. They instead spent time speaking to passers-by about rewilding before the end of the parade.
Afterwards, some of the attendees also showed their support for a solidarity rally by members of the local Sudanese community responding to violence waged against protesters in Sudan.
The Lancaster community is no stranger to supporting climate activism; groups like “LYFE” (Lancaster Youth for Environment) have campaigned in the past, achieving local results like the declaration of a climate emergency by the Lancaster City Council in 2019.
The organisers of the ‘People’s Parade for Climate Action,’ acknowledged this in a statement to SCAN but also promoted their desire for continued local activism:
“We need to build a habit of protest among all people. The hope is that this event will develop on the great youth strikes that have taken place in Lancaster to develop further to push for urgency in creating solutions to the climate and ecological emergency.”
“Lancaster has many strands of practical and political activism working to solve the climate emergency at local and global levels. We hope this event will shine a light on some of those and help us to build connections across the movement to enable change.”Orangisers of the ‘People’s Parade for Climate Action’
The local protest ran concurrently with the weekend of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow…
Climate activists from Lancaster have also taken the journey to the event this weekend to join – what is expected to be – a large number of protesters from around the country gathering in Glasgow to campaign for the solving of the climate crisis and to pressure the delegates from countries around the world to recommit to plans from the 2015 Paris Agreement.
COP26 will see countries laying out their plans on how they will reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions with the goal of limiting global temperature increases.
Among announcements that are expected from the summit is the faster switch to electric cars, the phasing out of coal power, a move away from deforestation and plans to protect people from the effects of climate change like flooding, heatwaves and the desertification of farmlands.
This is all to meet the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 C and the achievement of carbon neutrality by 2050 – a feature of the Paris Agreement.
According to the current rate of climate change, the planet could warm by more than 2 C by the end of the century, leading to rising sea levels, the rapid changing of natural environments and loss of species, whilst an increase in flooding and heatwaves are among some of the immediate effects that are currently happening.
Consequently, COP26 aims to push countries to recommit to the Paris Agreement, reveal their plans to achieve the reduction of emissions and undertake specific pledges.
Considering that the previous 25 giant conferences have failed to enact drastic action against climate change, and that the globe is currently 1.1 C hotter than the pre-industrial temperature, this summit will be invaluable in the pursuit of saving the planet.
The protests outside the summit in Glasgow will hopefully push countries to commit to policies of change, however, activism at a local level is essential to raise awareness, show that communities stand in solidarity with the aims of the summit and urges people at a local level to make personal changes to help end the climate crisis.
Speaking about the ‘People’s Parade for Climate Action’ in Lancaster, one attendee commented:
“As a grandfather I want to bring my child along so that it’s clear to them that we are not standing by whilst the world is in danger.”
Catherine Scott, who performed in the ‘Red Rebels’ demonstration, also spoke about the importance of local action in response to the climate crisis and COP26:
“Today was about showing that if politicians won’t take action, then the people will. We will not settle for COP26 being all style and no substance.”
Of course, major change happens when governments across the world come together and enact large-scale policy and practice revisions (something we will hopefully see at COP26) however – like the ‘People’s Parade for Climate Action’ has shown – revolution starts on the ground before it can ultimately reach a global scale.