Hundreds march against rising sea levels in second The Blue Wave event

Credit: Sophie Cassel

Sophie Cassel

The Blue Wave 2 was organized by Extinction Rebellion Glasgow together with its East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire branches.

Hundreds marched in The Blue Wave 2 parade in Glasgow on 28 February to raise awareness about the increasing damage caused by rising sea levels.

The Blue Wave 2 was organized by Extinction Rebellion Glasgow together with its East Dunbartonshire and Renfrew-shire branches. The first annual event took place last year on 18 March and was attended by over 300 people. It is estimated that this year’s event involved around 500 people. 

Dressed in blue and green to represent the colors of the sea, activists of all ages converged on the Clydeside Amphitheater at 12pm, where musicians performed for the crowd. 

Nora Etzold, an International Relations and Psychology student at the University of Glasgow and new member of Extinction Rebellion, said: “It’s wonderful, look at all these people coming together and celebrating together, not only being angry.”

Other organisations were also present, including Greenpeace and Food for Scotland. “I think it’s good that the different groups work together and I think that’s very important”, said Connie Arnold, a volunteer coordinator for Greenpeace Glasgow.

The focus on rising sea levels comes as a result of projections which show that Glasgow and Strathclyde region will be some of the worst affected areas in the UK due to flooding. A 2018 study conducted by Climate Ready Clyde predicts that due to increased flooding, especially in the winter months and powerful storms “the annual economic cost of climate change in Glasgow City Region is estimated to be £400 million each year by the 2050s.” 

“It’s a family friendly event to try and encourage people and raise awareness about the threats to everybody’s lives because of flooding” said Sian McKinnon, a member of Extinction Rebellion. “Flooding is a particular issue and is going to be a particular issue for Glasgow areas so that’s why we focus on it” 

The protest proceeded down Buchanan Street, passing crowds of shoppers, and ending at the steps of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. The protesters were headed by a blue-robed group called the Blue Rebel Brigade, that represent the “water based cousins of the now iconic Extinction Rebellion Red Rebels,” according to an Extinction Rebellion facebook event page.

According to Sarah Krisher, the Extinction Rebellion Media Link for this event, this year’s The Blue Wave focused more on pedestrianised routes and less road blocking. 

The importance of the climate emergency was apparent amongst the protesters. Nancy Randle, a History student at the University of Glasgow said: “It feels so urgent to me. My sign says ‘the end is nigh’ and I feel that. I feel like it’s coming.”

Climate justice and the exacerbation of inequalities that occur as a result of climate change were a key theme at the protest. Addressing the crowd in front of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, a speaker for Extinction Rebellion said: “While our leaders float around pretending like nothing is wrong, lives are being lost under the waves. Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Venice. In the last year, no corner of the world has been unaffected by climate change. The poorer the region, the more casualties inflicted.”

In a later speech, a member of Animal Rebellion said: “We must lift up the voices of others and crush all forms of exploitation together, to truly be fighting for a just and fair world.”


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