Walkers are trekking from London to Oxford as part of a relay to raise awareness of how climate change is affecting the world’s poorest communities.
The stops form part of a bigger relay, which sees hundreds of young people from Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN), supported by Christian Aid, make an almost 1,200-mile journey walking from the G7 in Cornwall to the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
On the way, the group were joined by members from local churches. Ian Cave, a Quaker from Charlbury Meeting in North Oxfordshire, said “I’m very pleased to be able to support the Relay which is very much in the vein of the Quaker testimony of sustainability, and good fun too!”
Colette Joyce, Justice and Peace Coordinator for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster is walking all of London-Oxford. She said “Walking through the countryside has really helped me appreciate God’s gift of creation that we’re trying to protect. I want to support the Young Christian Climate Network as they have a strong vision of climate justice and a particular emphasis on climate finance that is extremely urgent and necessary.”
The relay sees walkers make stops in St Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Tring, Aylesbury, Brill and Oxford. After a service at Christchurch Oxford, walkers continue north through Kidlington, Upper Heyford and Banbury.
Aylesbury-based Adam Eveleigh, lead walker for this section of the relay, said: “The relay has been an absolute joy to be a part of, it’s been amazing to meet and walk with so many different people and the welcome from churches and local organisations who have gone out of their way to greet us, support us and get involved has been incredible.
“It has been a privilege to carry forwards the clear message we have received along the way that the people of Aylesbury, Brill, Oxford and elsewhere stand with our global neighbours who are disproportionately suffering the effects of climate change, collectively standing up for justice and calling on our government to act.”
With both the G7 and COP hosted by the UK this year, Britain is in a unique position to set the tone for the discussions between world leaders. Prime Minister Boris Johnson can use these meetings to put pressure on the international community to pursue an agenda centred on climate justice.
Many of the world’s poorest are facing the double threat of a global pandemic and the ongoing effects of climate change through extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. While governments in the Global South try to fund relief measures from domestic budgets, they are saddled with crippling debts from both governments and banks.
The UK’s pivotal role as host to the G7 and COP offers the opportunity to push for an inclusive green and just economic recovery plan which addresses the impacts of Covid, debt and climate change.
People can visit the website www.yccn.uk and sign up to join one of the sections of the route.