Scottish climate campaigners welcomed overseas delegates to the COP26 talks with a Gaelic foot-washing ceremony.
Elders of the Minga Indigena attending COP26 from Ecuador were then invited to place their feet on a stone specially carved for the ceremony from Scottish sandstone.
The ceremony took place at an alternative to today’s formal opening of the summit.
The event, organised by the COP26 Coalition of grassroots campaign groups, also heard singing from indigenous people from North America, speeches from delegates to COP26 and traditional Scots music. About 150 people from across the climate justice movement were at the ceremony at the Landing Hub, outside the COP26 venue.
Mary Church, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said,
“We know that the climate crisis is caused by a system that prioritises profit over people, the same system that drives hunger, poverty, racism, sexism, ableism, classism, nature destruction and of course the covid-19 pandemic.
“We know that the solutions to the climate crisis are also the solutions to these interlinked injustices. That’s why we’ve come together as the COP26 Coalition to create a space for a movement to grow, one that is strong enough and hopeful enough to keep fighting for the better world we know is possible.”
Asad Rehman, of War on Want, said the climate crisis was “here and deadly”.
“We need more than a just transition, we need a justice transition. We have the policies, we have the plans, and we know what needs to happen. But we are facing a lack of political will. We must dial up the pressure so that no political leader can stand in the way of our demands for justice – we must end the era of injustice.”
Tom Ballantine, of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said:
“We want to make sure the voices of those most affected by climate change are heard. We want an outcome that reflects the extent of the crisis- agreement and immediate action, informed by climate justice, to deliver- no more than 1.5°, no less than $100 billion a year to the global south with real progress on compensation for loss and damage inflicted.”
Lauren MacDonald, of the Stop Cambo campaign against exploiting a new oil field off Shetland, said she had “absolutely no faith” that progress would be made at the talks.
“If world leaders had any intention of tackling the climate crisis, they would already be taking serious action. They wouldn’t be allowing new fossil fuel extraction, deforestation and more. Here in the UK for example, the UK Government is painting itself as a climate leader by hosting COP26, whilst simultaneously pushing the new Cambo oil field through parliament. We absolutely cannot let projects like Cambo go ahead. We need to hold these people accountable.”
DrillOrDrop’s reporting from COP26 has been made possible by individual donations from readers
Updated 1/11/21 with more photos and details