“This is a festival of image washing”



Student protests return to the Climate Summit (COP26). This Friday the day started with a giant iceberg shipped from Greenland to the River Clyde in Glasgow to dramatize the plight of the Arctic and now thousands of young people are filling the streets of Glasgow, Scotland, calling for action, and fewer words, from the governments that are negotiating measures against climate change, after almost a week of great speeches.

The march is led, among others, by the Swedish Greta Thunberg, who has resumed climate activism after a year away from the spotlight. This is not a climate conference. It is a festival of washing the image of the rich countries. A celebration of ‘nothing happens here’ and blah blah blah, “Thunberg denounced on Twitter before the march.

The first groups began to congregate, with songs, banners and costumes, a couple of kilometers from the conference headquarters, for the march, the AFP witnessed. “Once again, we see world leaders giving big statements and big promises,” said Mitzi Jonelle Tan, an activist from the Philippines. “We need drastic cuts in emissions, compensation from the North to the South … and we have to end the fossil fuel industry,” he added.

“Demonstrations like this put pressure on people in power,” said the Ugandan activist. Vanessa Nakate, one of the stars of this generation of activists. The message of Greta, Vanessa, has penetrated young people in many countries, and in Glasgow is the Colombian boy Francisco Javier Vera, 12 years old, who received threats in his country as a military man with eloquence and vivacity for the ecology. “I believe that boys and girls, unlike what people say, are the present and we have an opinion and a voice as citizens,” he told AFP this week.

The UN climate conference is not only a great negotiating meeting for delegates from almost 200 countries, but a platform for exchange all kinds of technology, ideas and projects, that have been applied or that have required years of research, in the fight against climate change.

The Saturday another great day of mobilization is planned worldwide, in Glasgow and in other cities. Security measures are important around the COP26 venue.

“Thousands of voices in the streets this weekend will make us listen,” warned the young Kenyan ecologist Elizabeth Wathuti in a message.

But alarming messages about the health of the planet cause concern among adolescents, warn specialists on the other hand. A phenomenon that increased with the covid-19 pandemic.

The UN published in October a large survey of G20 countries, that is, the 20 main economies of the planet, in which more than 300,000 young people under 18 years of age participated. While for 65% of adults climate change is a great urgency, in the case of those under 18 years of age that percentage increases to 70%.

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