The long-awaited COP26 climate summit is garnering media coverage from across the globe, however, it’s not just the big names in politics and business that are sounding the alarm on the climate crisis.
The global climate summit has inspired the public to think of innovative ways that they can affect change for the better and put pressure on decision-makers to advocate for a greener world. Here are some uplifting ways that ordinary people are taking action, too.
The teenager cycling 500 miles
Jessie Stevens is a 16-year-old climate activist who had planned on attending fringe events at COP26, however, she changed her plans when she realized how expensive a train ticket to Glasgow is from where she lives in Devon.
“We live in a society where the most polluting modes of transport—airplanes, cars, etc.—are the cheapest forms of travel, while the least polluting are extremely costly or time-consuming,” she said.
Instead of taking the train, Stevens arranged a protest cycle campaign to COP26 called People Pedal Power that raises awareness about costly low-carbon travel. Joining Stevens along the way are other eco-conscious cyclists.
“I want to remind leaders that people are powerful when they come together,” Stevens declared, “and that we want decisive climate action as an outcome of the talks.”
The ramblers walking 500 more
A female-run faith group called Camino to COP26 has organized a 500-mile trek from London to Glasgow, with some activists walking extra miles from Sweden. The group, which is part of the Extinction Rebellion, includes people between 18 and 74 years of age who all camp out in churches and village halls that extended their hospitality along the way.
According to Extinction Rebellion, the group’s arrival in Glasgow initiated the beginning of a two-week-long stretch of peaceful protest in the city.
The man who swam with glaciers
English swimmer Lewis Pugh’s approach to climate campaigning is certainly extreme—he gets up close and personal with icebergs that are threatened by global heating by throwing on a pair of shorts and swimming alongside them to raise awareness about the warming polar regions.
He most recently swam 7.8 km across the icy Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland. The journey took him 12 days. “It feels like running across a motorway. Except instead of dodging cars, I’m in 0C water dodging icebergs,” reads one of Pugh’s tweets.
You can catch Pugh at COP26 campaigning to protect 30 percent of the sea by 2030. “We rely on ice for our survival,” he said. “Ice keeps our planet cool enough for us to live. But we are losing it fast.”
The artists painting murals on walls
The environmental group UK Youth for Nature (UKY4N) is collaborating with artists in cities across the UK like Belfast, Manchester, Nottingham, and Cardiff to paint wildlife murals displaying key local species that are under threat from the climate crisis.
The series of murals is called ‘The Natural Kingdom: Wild Walls’ and was started off in Liverpool in July with a mural of the Sefton Coast’s rare northern dune tiger beetle painted by street artist ATM. Art and animal lovers can look forward to the unveiling of more murals throughout COP26.
Image source: Positive News/Olle Nordell