Same storm, different boats
This year in November world leaders are meeting in Glasgow at COP26, the UN climate conference. We, the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN), are asking them to rise to the moment and protect people over profits. So, as an act of hope, love and faith we are walking from Cornwall (where the G7 meeting took place) to Glasgow as a relay and we’d love you to join us – all ages and all denominations.
The relay began on the 14 June. I have been personally involved with coordinating London events, which happened as the relay passed through in early August.
We started our London section by walking from Clapham to St Paul’s Cathedral via Lambeth Palace for lunch, beginning as a group of just over 30, which grew as we went along. The atmosphere was amazing. It was really quite something to be surrounded by other Christians from all walks of life, all passionate about climate justice and all taking the time to join the relay. Christian Aid organised a banner outside St Paul’s reading ‘Same storm, different boats.’ This message is a big part of our campaign – the idea that we are all riding the wave of the climate crisis but we are not in the same boat. It affects some countries disproportionately.
We then had a few days of events in central London being hosted by Westminster Cathedral, Wesley’s chapel, St Martin in the Fields, St James Piccadilly and All Hallows’ by the tower. That list of churches is just a glimpse of the amount of support the relay has received from the UK church as a whole, from putting on services and providing accommodation to offering coffee and joining us for the walk.
Ahead of the London Residency Hub (what we call the relay stopping for events) I knew I would be attending inspiring services and I was excited about sharing our message and ‘asks’ for the government. What I hadn’t expected was how many incredible people I would meet and all the brilliant conversations. Now, I’m not only armed with many more eco tips and book recommendations but also a much stronger sense of hope as I look at the crisis. The IPCC report was released towards the end of the Residency. While we shared our feelings of climate anxiety with one another we were spurred on by the mainstream media focusing on this issue. It made us feel even more passionate about what we were doing.
So what is YCCN asking for at COP26? Our campaign ‘asks’ have been focussed on Climate Finance. This is because the countries most affected by climate change are the least at fault and the least able to afford solutions. Therefore, we call on the UK government to cancel public debt for these countries and put pressure on private creditors to do the same. We are also asking world leaders to:
- Reinstate the foreign aid budget to pre-Covid levels.
- At least double the $100bn a year for climate finance. This number of $100bn was pledged back in 2009 and still hasn’t been met, and even if it was met it wouldn’t be enough. This money would enable sustainable, green development.
- Develop an international loss and damage mechanism. This would support countries suffering from the effects of the climate crisis that are already inevitable.
Do join us for the relay to COP26! You can sign up for the relay on our website and find information about emailing your MP with an offer for them to sign our pledge https://www.yccn.uk/. Check our map to see if the relay is coming near you and spread the word to family and friends living in the North as the relay travels up to Glasgow.
Flo is a 19 year old living in London passionate about climate justice. A member of YCCN, she spent the last year on a gap year and will start at Durham University this September. @flosgemz