Thousands of climate activists demand action

Climate activists, including hundreds of children, protest at George Square in Glasgow, demanding action on climate change from world leaders and politicians at COP26. Photo: Shamsuddin Illius
The Business Standard
,
Bangladesh

Thousands of climate activists demand action

Thousands of climate activists, most of them young, were the focus of COP26 on Friday, both within the halls of the conference centre and in protests on the streets of Glasgow.

On Friday afternoon, protestors streamed into George Square in central Glasgow. Some were carrying banners reading, "We are running out of time," "26 years of blah, blah, blah," and "System change not climate change."

Climate activists, including hundreds of children, protest at George Square in Glasgow, demanding action on climate change from world leaders and politicians at COP26. Photo: Shamsuddin Illius
Climate activists, including hundreds of children, protest at George Square in Glasgow, demanding action on climate change from world leaders and politicians at COP26. Photo: Shamsuddin Illius 

A protestor from the US who preferred to be unnamed told The Business Standard (TBS), "We came here for substantial changes as drastic action is long overdue. Our demand is less talk, more work."

Hilary Evans, a protestor under the banner of Movement for the Abolition of War, told TBS, "We demand that COP26 should set limits with no exception for military related emissions."

Those marching held placards and banners aloft with messages that reflected frustration with what Swedish activist Greta Thunberg described as "blah-blah-blah" coming from years of global climate negotiations.

"You don't care, but I do!" read one sign, carried by a girl sitting on her father's shoulders.

Thunberg galvanised young people around the world to take action in "Fridays for Future" school strikes - which began with her standing every week outside the Swedish parliament.

"If you were smarter, I'd be in school" was the message carried by another protester. Many of the marchers took the day off school to take part.

Climate activists, including hundreds of children, protest at George Square in Glasgow, demanding action on climate change from world leaders and politicians at COP26. Photo: Shamsuddin Illius
Climate activists, including hundreds of children, protest at George Square in Glasgow, demanding action on climate change from world leaders and politicians at COP26. Photo: Shamsuddin Illius 

The British president of the two-week conference acknowledged that much more needed to be done to secure more ambitious commitments to stop the world's slide into climate catastrophe. He urged national negotiators to step up the pace.

"It is not possible for a large number of unresolved issues to continue into week 2," Alok Sharma said at a press conference on Saturday.

"The Earth's climate is changing!" read one schoolchild's placard, under a hand-painted picture of a globe on fire. "Why aren't we?"

Inside the COP26 conference venue in Glasgow, Scotland, civil society leaders were taking over discussions at the end of a week of government speeches and pledges, which included promises to phase out coal, slash emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane and reduce deforestation.

Campaigners and pressure groups have been underwhelmed by the commitments made so far, many of which are voluntary or set deadlines decades away.


This story was originally published by The Business Standard on November 5, 2021. It produced as part of the 2021 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews' Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.

Banner image: Climate activists, including hundreds of children, protest at George Square in Glasgow, demanding action on climate change from world leaders and politicians at COP26 / Credit: Shamsuddin Illius.

By visiting EJN's site, you agree to the use of cookies, which are designed to improve your experience and are used for the purpose of analytics and personalization. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy

Related Stories