COP 26 Day 5.

COP26 Day 5. Climate strike week 113.

Today was an early rise to get the 1.25 hr walk done to the starting line before most of the crowds arrived. We walked straight to our friends and gave many hugs and said many hellos before heading towards the briefing that had just started for youth helping out with security. We attached our high-vis arm bands, helped by Cerys’ duct tape and made our way to the rope line.

Although the march was yet to start for another hour, we were bombarded with people and press walking into the space we were trying to protect for MAPA without even asking. After Monday’s experience with the press bruising me while crowdlining I was a bit cautious at first, but soon we were all just telling them to go away and get out quite forcefully, even though if they cared they’d realise it was blatantly obvious they weren’t supposed to be there. They were mostly older white men ignoring the line of rope keeping them out. Just saying.

Once the march began and we were moving, the fear and terror in the tone of people’s voices through the singing and chanting was deafening. Yet us 30,000 + in the crowds weren’t the ones who needed to hear that. The atmosphere of dread and grief that I felt was almost overwhelming but there’s also a hint of power shining through. The power of the most affected people and areas chanting for their lives. The power in us closing major roads in Glasgow because of the crowds. The power in our volume, our strength, our determination. That power that comes from the people is painfully hopeful.

Kay and me left the march early due to sensory overload and went to a quiet cafe to calm down.

In the afternoon kay went back to the march and I went on to speak on a panel at the New York Times Climate Hub. This took a while to get into, with multiple layers of security, having to show proof of ID/a negative covid  test/ vaccination card and getting belongings searched. I didn’t realise these panels were such a big deal until I got there and had to wear a special pass around my neck. Once there, I met up with the other panelists and we went into the green room to wait on our turn to go, and I took my opportunity to fill up on the free refreshments and talk to the people I’d only previously met over zoom.

The panel was super interesting and I learnt a lot from the people I was speaking alongside. It also seemed like the most diverse one. Ours had only women/female presenting people, an indigenous person and half were youth and half were people of colour, whereas we went on to watch the next talk (Thomas Friedman in conversation with US Special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry) which had 2 old white men in suits. The contrasting perspectives made it really engaging and I enjoyed connecting with those people.

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