The Glasgow Guardian sits down with green activists at the University of Glasgow.
With COP26 bringing the focus of climate activists around the world to Glasgow, The Glasgow Guardian speaks to students fighting for climate justice on campus.
EXTINCTION REBELLION (XR)
Paddy from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Glasgow University felt inspired to properly take up activism and become involved in XR after seeing the mass action in London during XR's October Rebellion. Speaking of COP26, Paddy stated: "What goes on in the Hydro during COP26 is unfortunately destined to fail – the best case scenario is an agreement that comes nowhere near addressing the climate crisis and the worst case scenario is no agreement at all.” However, Paddy does see the conference as an opportunity to build support for grassroots activism, and show that a lack of action from world leaders will not be tolerated.
To other students interested in getting involved in activism, Paddy says: "Individual change and sustainable living cannot solve the climate crisis. We need to demand that our governments make systemic change. To do this we need people to flood the streets and COP26 is the perfect time to do this. There is a place for you in the climate movement, get involved and get involved now – there’s no time for excuses – no one can do everything, but everyone can do something."
UofG AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY
Lyall Tighe is the chairperson of the UofG Amnesty International Society, through which they began getting involved in climate activism. The group views the climate crisis as a human rights issue, and its disproportionate impact on women and minorities, something Lyall would encourage fellow students to remember within their activism. Lyall is looking forward to COP26 being held in Glasgow stating: "I think some of the climate movement’s momentum was lost during the difficulties of the pandemic, so I hope upcoming activism surrounding COP26 will bring people together in a show of collective power to demonstrate to governments that the peoples’ drive to see immediate climate action is alive and well."
Athina Bohner, a second-year international relations student, was inspired by Greta Thunberg to join climate strikes in her home city of Hamburg and to raise awareness of the climate crisis in her community. During COP26, Athina will be working as a Green Zone Team Leader, welcoming delegates from around the world. She told The Glasgow Guardian: "I truly hope that the activism surrounding COP26 will force the climate summit to bring about meaningful change, hold corporations accountable, and compel governments to finally prioritise climate justice." Athina also encourages fellow students to get involved in activism via climate activism societies at university, as well as "to keep educating yourself from a variety of credible sources" and not to "underestimate the power of raising awareness via social media".
STUDENTS FOR GLOBAL HEALTH SOCIETY
Mhari Russell, a 2021 UofG graduate in Medicine and now a junior doctor in Glasgow, has been involved in climate activism since being introduced to it at the Students for Global Health Society. "Climate change has always been high on the agenda, and over my six years at university it became even more pressing. We started organising conferences and marches and educational talks about climate change and as the network grew, more opportunities for getting involved with activism presented themselves," she told The Glasgow Guardian.
The importance of networking within climate activism and attending events to meet like minded people was an aspect Mhari stressed: "I hope that COP26 will provide an opportunity for young people to be listened to, and I think activism will facilitate this. It's our future that is being discussed by world leaders - we must have a say in what we want that future to look like. I also hope that activism will inspire others to stand up for values that they think are important, and find their own way of expressing this."
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