The WALKERS have embarked on a 500-mile pilgrimage to Glasgow ahead of the COP26 climate summit to be held in the city in November. At the same time, the Climate Action Network (CAN), the world’s largest environmental coalition of more than 1,500 NGOs, has called for the COP26 summit to be postponed until spring 2022.
On Sunday September 5 for the climate, a group left Parliament Square, in London; a few days later, a second group leaves Bristol.
The Walkers are a multi-faith group led by the Extinction Rebellion interfaith alliance, known as XR Faith Bridge. About fifteen people will travel the entire distance. Many more are expected to join different sections of the route, and the final group will arrive in Glasgow the day before the summit on October 30.
Melanie Nazareth, 61, lawyer and mother of four from London, also a member of Christian Climate Action, helps coordinate the pilgrimage they call “Camino to COP”. She said: “My ethnic roots are in the small Indian coastal state of Goa, and I grew up in the Solomon Islands. What is happening in these two places connects the ecological crisis and the climate crisis directly to my heart. The people most affected by ecological and climate degradation are not heard. Hope we can amplify voices like these as we walk the Camino. “
The walk has been nicknamed “Camino to COP” in reference to the pilgrimages made since medieval times. It also draws on the religious tradition of pilgrimage and justice marches of the past, such as the Jarrow Walk in the UK, the Salt Walk in India, and the Martin Luther King Walk in Washington, DC, in the United States. -United. They hope to share personal stories and inspire others to add their voices to those calling on governments to act quickly to address the climate crisis. The pilgrimage also raises funds to support activist groups in areas most affected by climate change.
This year’s Climate Sunday was celebrated by 1,950 churches of 40 denominations, making it the largest ecumenical Christian movement for climate justice in the UK. Over the past year, the Climate Sunday initiative has called on churches to take action, pray and speak out on climate change, and have encouraged Christians to get involved in a “greening agenda.” of the church, like A Rocha’s Eco Church or CAFOD’s Live Simply.
A special Sunday Climate Service took place in Glasgow Cathedral and was broadcast live. Church of Scotland General Assembly Moderator Lord Wallace said: “As we look to COP26 later this year, it has been an honor to join ecumenical friends from England , Wales and Ireland, as well as here in Scotland, to mark Climate Sunday at Glasgow Cathedral. The event took place on the First Sunday of Creation Time and was an opportunity to engage with the immense issues facing our planet through prayer and worship.
A Rocha UK chief executive Andy Atkins, who chairs the Climate Sunday coalition, urged other churches to join the movement in the weeks leading up to the Glasgow summit. “It is extremely encouraging to see so many churches making their own practical commitments on climate change – surely one of the greatest moral issues of our generation,” he said.
“Clearly, every section of society must help avert climate catastrophe, including urging governments to use their increased powers and resources to the best of their ability. There are still eight weeks until COP26, and we hope that hundreds of other churches will host a service, commit to action, and speak out during this time. “
In calling for a postponement of the COP, CAN refers to the UK’s poor preparation, which prevented many summit delegates from poorer countries from attending as they cannot get vaccinated and have to cope at significant travel and quarantine costs.
In a statement, the group said: “It is evident that a safe, inclusive and fair global climate conference in early November will be impossible, given the failure to support access to vaccines for millions of people in countries. poor; increased travel and accommodation costs; including for quarantine inside and outside the UK; and uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic. “
The group’s executive director, Tasneem Essop, criticized the UK government’s lack of action as G7 host in Cornwall earlier this year, for slowing the roll-out of the vaccine in poorer countries.
She said the CAN had advocated for vaccine fairness since the start of the year and “called on the UK for not supporting a patent waiver at the G7 summit in June. today, 57% of Europe is fully vaccinated, while barely 3% of Africa is. ”
Immediately after the statement was released, COP26 President Alok Sharma wrote on Twitter that the UK government would pay hotel costs for delegates who were forced to quarantine themselves for five days upon entering the UK. But Power Shift Africa think tank director Mohamed Adow, who is a longtime observer of the climate talks, said a delay was still needed. “Rather than muddling through piecemeal measures at late notice, we need a comprehensive plan to make the summit fully accessible to all.
“A summit dominated by developed countries would undermine the principles of the UN process and open the door to an amalgamation of talks among rich nations. A climate summit without the voice of those most affected by climate change is not fit for purpose. “