Megan Hermes shares her experience of taking part in the Global Day of Action march in Glasgow, UK during the UN climate talks, COP26.
Last Saturday I took part in one of the hundreds of climate marches that took place in cities and towns across the UK. In the pouring rain and blustery wind I marched alongside over 100,000 others in the biggest demonstration Glasgow has ever seen.
Many may ask why I chose to spend my Saturday trudging through puddles and battling the wind. I marched because my faith compels me to act, and to use my voice to stand alongside my global neighbours – those who have done the least to cause the climate crisis but are suffering the most.
At the start of the Glasgow march, Jocabed Solano from Panama shared with us all a prayer in her native tongue, Spanish and English as we joined together to root the day in prayer before healing out to brave the rain. As we made our way from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow Green I was powerfully reminded that my temporary discomfort was nothing in comparison to the everyday reality of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis. We faced the predictable Glaswegian wet weather, but millions are facing far worse as extreme weather events become more frequent and extreme because of our changing climate.
‘What do we want?’
‘When do we want it?’
But, as I remarked to those around me, this felt like a challenging reminder of our collective apathy and years of inaction that have led to this critical moment. We should have been acting yesterday, or even a decade ago.
Kuki Rokhum from EFFICOR in India has witnessed at first hand the impacts of climate change in her country. She shared these powerful words before we began our march:
‘We march because we want climate justice. We want justice for the poorest communities and indigenous peoples living in different parts of the world - the families whose lives and homes are being destroyed by extreme weather, droughts and floods. We want justice for all those who live lightly and yet pay heavily. And we walk in faith that things can change. Together we each carry with us a hope that we will see deeds, not just words from this COP26 summit. The time to act was yesterday, but we still have today.’
It was a joy and a privilege to walk alongside Renew Our World representatives, Promise from Nigeria, Jocabed from Panama, Charles from Malawi and of course Kuki from India.
On Saturday the world was watching as thousands of people demonstrated their desire for change. It is my hope and prayer that one day I will be able to tell my children, and their children, of the day I took to the rainy streets of Glasgow, and how world leaders listened and responded to our calls for change.
I pray that our actions sent a clear message, not just to world leaders, but to our global neighbours that there are thousands of us across the world passionately advocating for a fairer, more just world. That we see their suffering, that our march was an act of love not for ourselves but for all of God's creation and all those that inhabit it.