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Making their march: demanding climate action

  • 8 November 2021
Jesuit Mission pilgrims joined hundreds in a march around Glasgow for COP26

Jesuit Missions UK joined the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice March in Glasgow on Saturday 6th November. Organised by the COP26 Coalition, thousands of people took to the streets of Glasgow to protest. Whilst a relatively calm mood has reigned amongst leaders and politicians at the COP26 sessions, there has been growing impatience manifested on the streets of Glasgow with protestors disrupting traffic and occasional clashes with police, who are out in force.

The march coincided with 14 other marches throughout the UK. Inspired by COP26, the purpose of which is to urge world leaders to take more practical action in combatting climate change.

Joining the march was the 28 people who took part in the COP26 pilgrimage from Edinburgh to Glasgow. The pilgrims walked a total of 52 miles while praying for the protection of the earth against climate change. Amongst the walkers were two Jesuit priests and two novices.

The pilgrimage was organised as part of the Jesuit Missions climate change campaign, Growing our Future. Fr Kensy Joseph SJ, who is walking on the pilgrimage said, “The pilgrimage has been a way to bring spirituality and climate action together. We will finish the pilgrimage in a fitting way – at the march. To see so many groups from different backgrounds come together to protect our planet is incredible. It gives me hope for the future of our common home.”

Paul Chitnis, Director of Jesuit Missions, says, “The atmosphere this week at COP26 has been one of genuine concern and commitment. However, there remain real questions about, for example, the mechanisms for spending the billions of pounds that have been pledged. And Pledges are not payments. The $100 billion promised by 2020 has not materialised.

Failed commitments can be measured in the loss of lives and livelihoods especially among the poorest people. The need for urgent change is unquestionable.

In many ways, the COP is a very technical event. While politics, economics and science are essential, so too is the need for an interior change to how we live and relate to each other. That’s why I am delighted that Jesuit Missions has been present, both raising our voice for change but also in a prayerful way.

There are massive challenges to be addressed but there is also hope, especially in the real energy I have seen from young people I have met here in Glasgow.”

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