COP26 update: What Extinction Rebellion Harrogate did in Glasgow and what is their assessment of 'progress'

Harrogate people looking to make their voices heard on the climate emergency will be able to take part in a family-friendly march in the town centre this weekend.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 11:59 am
Updated Thursday, 11th November 2021, 2:00 pm
Harrogate protesters make their climate emergency point at COP26 - Driving rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the estimated 100, 000 marchers in Glasgow, including 12 intrepid souls from Harrogate.

The Harrogate Climate March is to take place from 11am to noon on Saturday, November 13. Anyone wishing to take part is being advised to meet at Library Gardens on Victoria Avenue.

The Harrogate demonstration has been organised by a range of Harrogate activists, including members of Extinction Rebellion.

So far, they told the Harrogate Advertiser, they have not been very impressed with the results of the UN's COP26 summit on climate action - or lack of it.

Victoria Wild of XRH said: “The pace of change is too slow and the agreements being reached aren’t bold enough. From every perspective, including economically, it makes sense to seize the chance to make changes now.

"Change is coming whether we like it or not - the choice is whether we act now and shape those changes or whether we wait till runaway climate change is thrust upon us.”

But James Smith of XRH, says there is always hope. “This event has shown us that we are not the minority anymore. When you’re in this huge crowd you realise that ordinary people recognise the threat of climate change.

"It’s a mainstream concern now. It’s the politicians who aren’t getting it, so it’s up to us to make our voices heard and show them how we feel.”

Beth Andralojc of Extinction Rebellion Harrogate took a week off work to spend time at COP 26.

Beth said: "I've been fortunate enough to have spent most of COP 26 in Glasgow, and the climate activists I have met are inspiring, including those from the Global South, which is being hit the hardest by climate change. Can we honestly say to our children in 10 years time that we did nothing?

"People in Harrogate might argue that we are powerless in the fight against climate change and that we can do nothing in the face of growing coal powered economies like China's.

"But we do have the power. We have the power to call on our local MP, Andrew Jones, to demand divestment from fossil fuels and investment in more reliable, subsidised public transport; to call on banks like Barclays and NatWest to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry; to call for the end to polluting fast fashion.”

Harrogate activists say they were proud to be there in person at the big protest march in Glasgow last Saturday, some with giant, self-made banners.

Master banner maker for Extinction Rebellion Harrogate, Anna Bryer, had used the Climate Stripes image which show global temperature changes since 1820 as the starting point for her eye catching creation at the protest made from recycled fabric.

She said: “It is a very powerful and shocking image that I thought would portray the message in a simple and dramatic way.

"These global temperatures are scientific fact: the earth is getting hotter, and we are responsible for this.

"The highlight of my day was when a scientist saw my banner, and said that the image was created in the office where he worked. He was really impressed!”

Driving rain and strong winds didn’t dampen the spirits of the estimated 100, 000 marchers in Glasgow last Saturday, including 12 intrepid souls from Harrogate.

Among them were an NHS worker, a gardner, an artist, a teacher and charity workers, who made their way to Glasgow by electric car, train and bike.

Marian Kempson from Zero Carbon Yorkshire said: "It was amazing to be part of the crowd with so many people of different ages and walks of life, carrying banners and placards all calling for change.

"The banners fluttered in the breeze while samba bands played and people cheered from the buildings.

"It gave me hope there are many people calling for action on climate change NOW. This is the real COP26. "