COP26 Youth March: ‘We have no other choice’

By Paul O’Hare
BBC Scotland


Thousands of people flocked to Glasgow for the march

Thousands of young people are dropping out of school on the sixth day of the UN climate summit to show world leaders that they hope action will be taken on the crisis.

Activist Greta Thunberg led a youth march organized by the Fridays for Future school strike movement.

Young people from around the world joined her in the procession from Kelvingrove Park to downtown.

Some of them told us why.

Amy, 14, from Darnley


Graham Paisley and his 14-year-old daughter Amy are in Glasgow for the march

Graham Paisley and his daughter Amy were among those who gathered in Kelvingrove Park, in the west end of Glasgow, before the march.

Paisley, 49, said, “I’m here for Amy. I think it’s really important for her to have a vision of what’s going on in the world.”

“Climate change is going to have a huge impact on our lives and things will definitely get worse if we don’t do anything about it.”

The businessman only found out about the rally when 14-year-old S4 student Amy mentioned it on Monday.

They traveled from Darnley, Glasgow, to participate in what will be their first protest.

Amy said, “If anyone is going to do something about it, it will be the young people, as we will have to live with that.

“I hope that governments today realize that it is something that matters to the people.

“They need to do something about it.”

April Hamilton and baby Juneau


A smiling Juneau came to her first protest before her first birthday.

April traveled to George Square from Paisley, Renfrewshire, for the rally with her 11-month-old daughter Juneau.

The teacher said: “It is very important not to be here because there has never been anything like this in the city before.

“I worry about what the world will be like when my daughter is older. What animals will go extinct?

“Will you see the beauty of Scotland as I watched it grow?”

Ms. Hamilton, 33, hopes that the outcome of COP26 will be more than just words.

He hopes to see climate activist Greta Thunberg, who he said is an amazing role model for his daughter.

Ms. Hamilton added: “I think it’s amazing that one person can have such an impact. He hasn’t changed his tone and he hasn’t let fame go to his head.

“She is just a girl who cares about the world.”

Patrick Klein and Philip, 10


Patrick Klein took his son Philip to his first protest

Patrick Klein is out and about with his wife Julia and son Philip.

The software engineer is originally from Luxembourg, but has lived in Glasgow for 20 years.

Klein, 50, said: “I think it is important to advocate for climate change and send a message to politicians that they must act.”

He said that he had been disappointed in what was announced at COP26 so far, as he believed it did not go far enough.

Among the measures Klein would like to see are coal consigned to history and the end of combustion engines in cars before 2030.

Philip, 10, said, “I came here today because I want my future to be good and I want everyone else’s future to be good.”

Prof. Kathryn Elmer and Keifer, 10


Professor Kathryn Elmer, with her son Keifer, thinks it’s time to make aggressive decisions

Kathryn Elmer, a biology professor at the University of Glasgow, attends the march with her son Keifer.

She said: “There have been many, many years of skepticism and conversations, but now is the time to make some aggressive decisions.

“We can’t just sit here and watch the planet burn.”

Professor Elmer, who is originally from Canada, wants the UK to stand up and be a world leader on climate change.

Son Keifer, 10, said: “Not many adults listen to young people, like Greta Thunberg.

“I think it’s time for all ages to act.”

Evelyn Acham, activist from Uganda


Evelyn Acham Campaigns for the Rise Up Movement in Uganda

Evelyn Acham, a Ugandan Rise Up activist in Africa, said some young people had become “full-time activists” against climate change, abandoning education and work due to the urgency of the crisis.

Ms Acham told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland that the situation was so urgent that they had abandoned other parts of their lives to press for action.

She said: “Young people who go out to march give us hope.

“The future belongs to these young people, because they still have a long time, they have not achieved much, but the older generation has already achieved so much and (climate change) will probably not be their problem so much.

“But young people still have work to do, they still have to do school, they have a future to build, so this is our concern.”

He added: “Many young people have dropped out of school to become full-time activists, some have quit work, some have stopped pursuing a master’s degree, just because they see the urgency of this.”

He said that young people continue to take to the streets around the world because “we have no other choice.”

Peggy and Dora the stalker


Ruth Ewan attended the rally with her daughter Peggy and her dog Dora.

Ruth Ewan is in George Square for the rally with her daughter Peggy, who made a special poster for her pet, Dora.

The artist said: “I want my daughter to think about what is happening to the world and get involved in the fight for climate justice.”

Ms. Ewan, 40, is also concerned about growing inequality and hopes that the UN climate conference will have a positive impact around the world.

She added: “I want to see more action and less blah blah blah.

“I am excited that my daughter can see Greta today as she is an amazing young role model.”

Anne Thom and Ruby, 11


Ruby is worried about her own children when she grows up

Ruby was allowed to miss school to attend her first march, on her birthday.

She said: “I wanted to come here on my birthday to help everyone’s voices on climate change be heard.

“I am concerned that if I have children, they may not know what a polar bear is.”

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