Glasgow’s festival of climate resistance

IssueDecember 2021 - January 2022
This Loch Ness Debt Monster was arrested by police on Finance Day at COP26 (3 November) before it could float on the River Clyde to highlight the growing threat of climate debt for lower-income countries. PHOTO: HEIDI CHOW/JUBILEE DEBT CAMPAIGN
News by PN staff

This is a small sample of what happened in Glasgow during the COP26 climate talks! Almost all these events were organised by the COP26 Coalition, a UK-based climate justice coalition bringing together environment and development NGOs, trade unions, grassroots community campaigns, faith groups, youth groups, migrant and racial justice networks and more. Behind the scenes, the coalition also: ran a visa support service; mobilised people across Scotland to open their homes for a Homestay Network; and organised a team of over 150 interpreters to improve accessibility at coalition events.

31 October

  • ‘The Era of Injustice is Over: COP26 Coalition Opening Event’ featuring speakers from across the climate justice movement, including youth from Fridays For Future Most Affected Peoples and Areas. Available on YouTube (starts at 4min 10sec):

1 November

  • Start of Inside Outside, an-almost daily five-minute video summary of what had been happening both inside the negotiations and outside among the people’s movements. Available on YouTube:
  • First ‘Movement Assembly’: ‘Climate Justice Movement Strategy #1’. What are the big fights at COP26, and how do we intervene and take action together? Available on YouTube (starts at 6m 6s):

2 November

l Movement Assembly: ‘Climate Justice Movement Strategy #2’. What does winning look like and how can our strategies be interwoven between the inside and the outside? Available on YouTube (starts at 29m 5s):

Half a century after first turning on the tap to North Sea oil, the queen returned on 3 November to turn it off in a ceremony organised by Stop Cambo activists in Glasgow. PHOTO: HANAE TAKAHASHI/FRIENDS OF THE EARTH JAPAN (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

3 November

4 November

  • Work & Unions Movement Assembly. The Just Transition must be led by workers – with a new deal that lifts people out of poverty, increases workers’ rights and includes a shorter working week. Available on YouTube (starts at 5m 36s):

5 November

  • Organised by ‘Fridays for Future’, there was a march of over 30,000 people in Glasgow demanding climate justice as part of the day’s climate strike.
  • The Feminist Movement Assembly addressed gender justice, ‘giving particular consideration to the question of what major feminist fights we consider to be on the horizon’. Available on YouTube (starts at 10m 55s):

6 November

  • The COP26 Coalition organised a march of 100,000 people in Glasgow as part of the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice (which included 100 events in the UK and another 200 events around the world). The march was led by indigenous activists, and the rally at the end began with indigenous speakers. On the Glasgow march, sections included: an Indigenous People’s and Frontline Communities Bloc; a Peace and Demilitarisation Bloc; a Farmers, Foresters and Landworkers Bloc; a Faiths and Beliefs Bloc; a Trade Union and Workers Bloc; the Climate Justice Bloc (their meeting point was a big “Uproot the system” balloon); and a Living Rent Housing Bloc.
  • The COP26 Coalition also organised a Digital Rally. Speakers included S’bu Zikode (Abahlali BaseMjondolo/South African Shack Dwellers). Available on YouTube (with a bit of marching at the beginning):
  • First mass arrest of scientists over the climate crisis: 15 members of Scientist Rebellion were arrested for blockading King George V bridge in Glasgow:

7 – 10 November

  • The People’s Summit for Climate Justice involved 199 in-person events at 12 different venues in Glasgow (including workshops, films, panels, performances, games and assemblies) as well as 70 digital events.

7 November

  • As part of the People’s Summit, the first ‘Our Time is Now’ meeting talked about the need for a Just Transition. Speakers included Colette Pichon Battle (Red Black Green New Deal). Available on YouTube (starts at 6min 25sec):

8 November

  • Speakers at ‘Our Time is Now #2’ meeting in Glasgow included Tasneem Essop (executive director, Climate Action Network International). Available on YouTube:
  • Climate, Reparations, Decolonising Movement Assembly. Available on YouTube (starts at 2m 22s):
Scottish Ballet was challenged over its BP sponsorship on 12 November. An oil-branded ballet dancer led 50 performance activists (including Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir) in a musical protest outside Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. PHOTO: BP OR NOT BP?

9 November

  • The Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (the Articulation/Coalition of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil), Amazon Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion demonstrated outside the entrance to COP26 to raise the voices of frontline rainforest defenders. Two of their slogans: ‘No more indigenous blood!’ ‘We have to reforest not only the world but also ourselves, minds, hearts’.
  • Indigenous Movement Assembly. Available on YouTube (starts at 5m 10s):

10 November

12 November

  • Led by indigenous groups, hundreds of people representing civil society groups and climate justice movements walked out of the COP26 venue demanding just and urgent solutions to climate crisis. 
  • They joined a rally outside organised by Fridays For Future Scotland and Extinction Rebellion Scotland.