Young Christians will be walking and cycling in a relay which began in Cornwall in June and will finish at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November.
The Relay to COP26 will walk from Tadcaster to York on Monday 20th September, travelling through Copmanthorpe and Bishopthorpe and estimated to arrive at St Michael le Belfrey Church, York city centre around 4:30pm. At 5:30pm there will be a service at York Minster where the pilgrims will be welcomed. The relay is organised by the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) who have come together with local churches and Christian Aid to mobilise people across the country to highlight the effects of climate change on the world’s poorest communities. The sixteen walkers look forward to being joined on the last stretch by the Bishop of Selby and members of Stitches for Survival who are using creative ways of calling for the Earth to be put centre-stage at COP26.
As it passes through North Yorkshire, YCCN hope to gather support and build grassroots pressure on world leaders attending the climate summit to take urgent and decisive action for climate justice.
Rachel Mander, one of the young people organising the Relay:
“We stand in solidarity with people and places that are being plunged into debt and poverty because of climate change. More carbon emissions means more disease, more food insecurity and more poverty. We will be in our 30s when the world reaches 1.5 degrees warming. We will not let the UK government host summits on our doorstep only to hear more talk and no action.”
The UK’s pivotal role as host is an opportunity to push for an inclusive, green and just economic recovery which addresses the impacts of Covid, debt and climate change.
Phoebe Power, one of the lead walkers for the York-Ripon section:
“I want to be part of the young, hope-filled and empowering movement for climate justice that is YCCN. Walking together in the spirit of pilgrimage is a powerful way to embody our connection to each other, to our beautiful and damaged Earth, and to the God who loves us and wants us to be reconciled with our only home, this planet. I hope that decision-makers at COP26 listen to the agony of communities worldwide suffering climate breakdown, and the desperate pleas of citizens everywhere to make the deep, bold and life-affirming changes that are needed. We need COP26 to trigger the immediate practical measures that we already know are possible, through a responsible, co-operative and ambitious vision which will amaze the world by its sheer scope, creativity and compassion.”
The group will have stops in ten cities along the way and York is one of them. The York stop (20th - 24th Sept) coincides with a part of York Environment Week (18th - 26th Sept).
Majimcha Nobel – de Lange, who is coordinating YCCN events in York, is especially excited about this:
“As an environmental scientist I’m delighted to be involved in organising events bringing together people from all walks of life with the common goal of climate action. It is especially exciting that the Relay to COP26 York Residency coincides with York Environment Week. I’d encourage everyone to checkout events and go to be challenged, encouraged, rejuvenated and changed.”
An overview of York YCCN events can be found on yccn.uk/york. To take part in a section of the near 1200-mile route, people of all ages and faiths/non-faith can sign up on www.yccn.uk/relay where the full route can be found (see local route details below). York Environment Week events can be found on yorkenvironmentweek.org.uk.
Walk from Tadcaster to York - 20th Sept
Events taking place in York 20-24th Sept
Walk from York to Thorpe Underwood - 24th Sep
Walk from Thorpe Underwood to Ripon- 25th Sep
Cycle from Ripon to Stockton-on-Tees- 26th Sep