That of God in everyone

UN COP26 in Glasgow


The Conference of the Parties, (COP) is the world's most important international climate conference, and was hosted this year by the UK in Glasgow. People from across the world travelled to be there.

I expected large crowds for marches; what I didn’t expect was just how large, well organised, and good natured these events would prove to be.

There were in fact two major marches. The march on Friday 5 November was organised by Fridays for Future, the youth movement inspired by Greta Thunberg, and she herself was there to address the rally in George Square. It was wonderful to see thousands of young people, many marching in their school uniforms, displaying banners and posters (usually handmade) to highlight their concerns about saving the planet. There were many family groups, parents with babies and young children - the future generations whose lives will be seriously affected if countries and large corporations do not agree to make significant changes to reduce carbon emissions urgently. The bigger demonstration - and it was enormous - was on Saturday 6th. The marchers flowed through the streets of Glasgow like a great, never ending river. It took four hours for the march to pass any particular point. As has become the norm, there were humorous banners and slogans which kept the spirits up, but there was no doubting the seriousness of purpose and the passion of those who had come to make their voices heard. There were also banners carried by many organisations and other campaign groups concerned with the impacts of the climate crisis.

(Photo taken by Marie during the march)

Perhaps the speakers who made the greatest impact were those from the Indigenous peoples from across the world, particularly those from the South American continent. They came in their brightly coloured traditional costumes and spoke, often through translators, of the destruction of their lands and forests, and told of how many activists were murdered while trying to defend their lands and customs.

There were representatives from many other organisations and groups, including the Greenham Common women, those veteran anti-nuclear protestors from the 1980s. I was very pleased to find the Quakers from Glasgow Meeting whose members on the march were accompanied by Quakers from other parts of the UK and beyond. On the Sunday, many of those visitors attended Meeting for Worship at the Meeting House. Even though the final outcomes from the COP26 negotiations fell short of what many had hoped for, there was optimism that some things were achieved that can be built on. The next COP will be held in 2022.

Glasgow Meeting House 38 Elmbank Crescent, Glasgow G2 4PS, (near Glasgow Central Station).

If you would like to see more images from the event, there is a link to the Guardian website below.

Marie Abbott