join donate discuss

Durham calls for climate action NOW

Jonathan Elmer speaking to the crowd on 6th November - Durham Marketplace
Jonathan Elmer speaking to the crowd on 6th November - Durham Marketplace

Durham came together on Saturday 6th November to add its voice to calls for world leaders at the climate summit in Glasgow to take the actions needed to hold the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C.

Hundreds gathered in Market Place for a festival of drumming, dancing, singing, and speeches to make the point to world leaders at COP26 that people demand climate action now.

Around 50 different organisations came together on the day. Durham Greens, churches, charities, students, scientists, Durham University and Durham County Council all took part.

Our own Jonathan Elmer was one of the main speakers. He told the crowd that climate action should be seen as an opportunity, not a sacrifice.

“In the West, our lived experience, for the most part, is that life is pretty good. Therefore, the dominant narrative around climate action has been about sacrifice when it should be seen as an opportunity for warmer homes, better food, better transport and better relationships with nature.

“But if you live in poverty in a developing country, your priorities are about food and shelter. If we want people around the world to see climate action as an opportunity we must first provide for their basic needs. We must address inequalities if we are to address climate change.”

Making a list of demands that world leaders need to respond to in order to ensure that climate action is just and addresses global inequalities, Jonathan said the world has only seven more years of ‘carbon budget’ left before it will become impossible to keep global temperature rise to 1.5C.

“One thing is clear from COP26. Global leaders do not see the preservation of the planet as our top priority. It must be driven by local communities like Durham simply getting on with it.”

Our co-ordinator Rupert Friederichsen said the rally had been a huge success.

“As well as being inspired by the speeches, many people took the opportunity to see the stalls in St Nicholas’s Church to find out how, as individuals, they can do more in their own lives to reduce the pressure on our life support systems.

“Climate Action Durham will now assess the rally and discuss what the next steps should be to keep climate action front and centre of people’s minds. Clearly the decade of climate action is just beginning and there will be challenges ahead.”