Reflections on COP26

Reflections on COP26

By Gabrielle Livingstone

As Cop16 draws to a close, with little change, the past weekend we have seen more than 100,000 people take part in the climate justice rallies in our beloved Glasgow during the COP26 negotiations. We had high profile activists from all over the world such as Greta Thunberg, Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Vanessa Nakate and Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner march alongside the people of Glasgow, with some giving speeches.

Their message is clear; time is running out and we are being greenwashed. For those not familiar with the terms “greenwash” or “greenwashing” they are the words used by climate justice activists for the practice of presenting yourself, your country or your business as leading the climate change charge, while only paying lip service to it.

A good example is US President Joe Biden, who decided to stay in Edinburgh and commute to Glasgow every day with an eye watering entourage of vehicles. For those not familiar with the geography of Scotland, this is a round trip of c100 miles or about 3hrs on heavily congested roads.

Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate led the rally telling the crowds we must “demand action”. She took to her Instagram to say “a delay here, a delay there, a broken promise here, a broken promise there, a commitment there and then you sit back- do you know what comes next? Loss and damage.”

We spoke to Mollie Forsyth, a local who took part in the rallies to get a better understanding of what was going on. She said, “The atmosphere was so moving before even entering the sea of people, there was an immense sense of power shifting amongst the streets.”

“The mainstream coverage sadly didn’t document the true authenticity and vulnerability of those who participated. There could have been a real opportunity to show the golden hearts of society, and those who are doing everything to aid the planet.”

There is only so much we, as citizens, can do. Mollie says: “There are incredibly powerful young people fighting the governments acts in destroying our planet, so yes I think eventually we will be heard… all I do know is that thousands of people will have participated in considering the health of the planet, and if we all thought consciously, we could change the state of the planet tomorrow, seeing individuals come together only provides more hope.”

To some degree there is still a sense of hope that we will keep fighting for our beautiful planet. All we can do is hope that those in power will finally take responsibility and not let us down. That is a lot to ride on for some, but without hope we are nothing. Keep being angry and keep fighting for change. Change will come.

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