On Saturday 6th November (the mid-point of the COP26 UN climate summit), Footsteps joined with many other organisations under the umbrella of COP26 Coalition for the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice. In Birmingham, a march and rally attracted between 2 and 3 thousand participants. Footsteps & Birmingham Friends of the Earth volunteer Toqueer reflects on this action, in an article first published on the BFoE website.
Hello, peace to you all. I am a Muslim, local green activist at Birmingham Friends of The Earth and these are my reflections on this historic and defining moment in the history of the world.
It was 11.30am and after a group photo we left the Warehouse. It was a breezy day but not too cold.
Once we arrived at Millennium Point there were what seemed like 100’s already present and many still arriving from every street nearby. I noticed a large bird, with its head and wings moving, WOW I thought, it was the RSPB Sandwell and Birmingham team here to support the cause and it’s amazing wildlife. The closer I got, I could see that there were 3 people holding and moving it, it was really visual. There were lots of different blocks including; trade unions, students, local groups from across Birmingham were present too.
I met a few friends who I had not seen for years and also went over to Footsteps who are a Faiths for a Low Carbon Future local group who I also volunteer with. I walked with them after the early speeches, which started from 12pm till 1pm.
We were on the move, following a set route, there must be 1000’s I thought. There were young and old, people from all faiths and diverse communities too. The colourful placards and really inspiring banners gave me hope that the future can be better, we just need to ”BELIEVE IN BETTER and ACT NOW.” As we progressed, I saw the Extinction Rebellion group with their really cool action – a few nurses giving planet earth CPR – it was really striking and eye-catching. There were lots of passers by taking pictures and recordings. There were chants of ”there is no planet B” and “what do we want, climate justice, when do we want it now,”. As we walked past Union Street and then on to New street, we were met with cheers from passers by who had come to visit the German Market.
It was time to go back to Millennium Point and to finish off the final speeches and I was to give one of them. It must have been about 3pm when I queued up, it started to rain and said a short prayer. I knew this was my moment to share with the world, my hopes. It was time, the hallowing wind went silent as to say, the moment was right, I stepped up on the stage and shared my hopes of compassionate people working together for a better and greener world. In my heart I thought, I hope my message reaches to every corner of the country and the world too. We only have one world, let’s care and love more. We the people collectively can create the greener and fairer future we want. Our destiny is defined by actions, let them speak from this day forth.
A big Thank you to Libby Harris, who has supported me throughout the last 3 years as a Environmental Campaigner at Birmingham Friends of The Earth.
A big Thank you to Olly Armstrong for his dedication to the cause of climate justice and in leading and organising the rally and to making sure it went smoothly. A big thank you too to the stewards who volunteered and to all those who supported the West Midlands COP26 Coalition Hub.
Explore what Birmingham can do after COP26, at Action not Words, Sunday 21st November in person at Carrs Lane Church Centre, and streamed online.
And keep in touch with Birmingham COP26 Coalition, including their Digital Rally on Tuesday 16th November.