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Cop26: Climate activists walk 500 miles from London to Glasgow

A group of climate activists is walking 500 miles across from London to Glasgow to raise awareness for climate change ahead of the UN Cop26 climate conference.

The activist group, titled Listening to the Land, began their ‘Pilgrimage for Nature’ walk on 4 September and will reach Glasgow in time for the conference on 31 October.

The group of around 20 people have walked 10 miles a day for the last seven weeks along an ancient pilgrimage route, to raise awareness for climate issues and connect with local nature and people.

They are calling on people to join them as they walk and to “contribute their thoughts on climate change, nature and biodiversity loss in their backyards as well as local solutions people are already working on”.

The group, who are currently approaching Edinburgh, hope to present their findings and experiences at Cop26 through various performance pieces and events in Glasgow.

The group have arrived in Scotland are are currently approaching Edinburgh ahead of the summit.

(Listening to the Land)

Their route incorporates some of “Britain’s key historic centres of cultural, industrial, spiritual, and political power,” and mimics an ancient route for pilgrimage.

One of the group’s co-founders, theatre producer Jolie C. Booth, said: “A vast amount of climate change is the result of us all speeding up and consuming too much. Pilgrimage is the exact opposite and puts us in direct contact with nature. The greater our connection to nature, the more we want to protect it.

“We hope by the time we arrive in Glasgow we will have inspired tens of thousands of people to go on their own sacred walk and connect to their land and let nature guide their action.”

The group’s co-founder and global climate policy expert, Anna Lehmann, told The Independent: “We are in a really critical moment for humanity here and what we do now will define what the world looks like for our children.”

Ms Lehmann, who has worked in climate change for 20 years, added: “When you speak to people, they are totally switched on and are ready for change and solutions. They may not show up as voters for various reasons and inequalities, but at a personal level, there is broad understanding and desire to do something and stop destruction.”

The core group of around 20 people have seen additional walkers join them along their route, and Ms Lehmann described it as a collective, learning and growth experience for participants who have enjoyed making new folksongs, rituals and connections together.

The group of around 20 people have been walking 10 miles a day for seven weeks, so far.

(Listening to the Land)

Regarding the group’s hopes for outcomes of Cop26, Ms Lehmann’s hopes that “human rights, justice and equality elements will be integrated into outcomes and to support the asks of developing countries.”

She said: “We hope that Glasgow will be seen as a moment where people from around the world get together and stand up for humanity and nature.”

Listening to the Land will reach Glasgow in time for the Cop26 climate summit, which begins on 31 October.

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