Our shared world won't wait
24 November 2021 by Ellis Brooks
The UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October–12 November 2021.
There was a huge amount of inspiring and creative action from Quakers around Britain in the run up to and during COP26! We heard from Friends in almost every part of the country who organised and supported a wide range of activity, including meetings for worship and vigils, marches and rallies, banner drops, festivals, educational events and interfaith community building.
Just a few of the highlights were Friends in Evesham organising with the local community to put on a festival for the environment during COP26; Friends in Norwich and Bristol organising pilgrimages in the run up to COP26; Friends in Birmingham working with local faith leaders to build a faith community presence at the day of action on 6 November; Friends in Hereford holding weekly vigils to raise awareness in the local community about the importance of COP26, and Friends in Leeds, Cardiff and Manchester forming Quaker blocs on the marches in their cities. Alongside all of this, Friends in Glasgow ran an amazing programme of events and opened their meeting house as a place of stillness and welcome among the activities going on across the city.
Thank you to everyone who has contacted us to let us know about climate action you are involved in. It has been wonderful to see how Quakers are playing a part in building a large, diverse and creative movement for climate justice. We have captured some of your stories, as well as outlining what Quakers in Britain staff got up to at COP26 in the digital report below (opens in a new tab).
Staff from Quakers in Britain were in Glasgow throughout COP26. We worked both inside and outside the conference to push for governments of rich countries to commit to a loss and damage fund for countries already impacted by climate change. We also supported Quaker and interfaith action on a range of climate justice issues.
We joined marches, vigils, actions and events, alongside hundreds of Quakers, thousands of people of faith and hundreds of thousands of other climate justice activists. A few wonderful highlights were joining participants in the many pilgrimages to Glasgow walking into the city the day before COP began, participating in an interfaith vigil where the Glasgow Multi-faith Declaration was read out, marching in the faith and beliefs bloc on the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, organising an interfaith vigil to urge decision makers at COP to keep financing for loss and damage high on the agenda, and attending the many fantastic events at Glasgow Quaker Meeting House!
The easiest way to find out about Quakers in Britain work on climate justice, is to sign up to the mailing list for Quaker Faith in Action and tick the box for climate justice.
Send us information about what climate action you and/or your group or meeting are working on for our new Quaker Climate Action database. We know lots of Quakers are taking action for COP26 and that this action will continue after COP26 ends.
To record Quaker climate action, we are creating an online database (through the freely accessible online Microsoft Suite – we will share more details about how to access this later). The database will be a place for Quakers to share information about the action you are taking and your contact details. We will then make this publicly available for other Quakers to access so you can read about one another's actions and get in touch with each other directly. We are very conscious that as a team of part-time staff, we can often end up as bottlenecks and we want to try to reduce that!
If you are taking action against climate breakdown and want to let other Quakers know about this, please fill in this form.
Our hope is that the database will serve as a snapshot of action across the UK so please use it to tell everyone a little about who you are and what you're working on in general terms. A bit like a big phone book but for Quaker climate action! The database won't be fast-moving enough to serve as a place to advertise events. However, if you include a link to a webpage where people can find out more, that can also serve as a way to make sure we all know about your upcoming events!
We have been navigating some of the complexities of how to share your data in a safe way, as well as trying to juggle building the database at the same time as gearing up for COP26. Now that COP26 is over, getting the database launched is one of our priorities and we hope to share details of how to access it early in 2022.
Read the full statement here (PDF) and watch the statement video below.
What is climate justice and how can we take action to secure it? View this resource online.
In the run up to the UN climate talks – COP26 – Quakers across Britain were involved in lots of actions. Here is our archive of just some of the key moments and events that happened!