Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg said in the streets of Glasgow that “Leadership is out here, not inside COP26.”
Thunberg made those remarks while participating in a demonstration of environmentalist groups next to the convention centre where the climate summit is taking place. Change will not come from there because leadership is out here, not inside COP26, she stressed.
“We say no more 'blah blah blah,' no more exploitation of people, nature and the planet; no more whatever they do in there, Thunberg told reporters at Festival Park, on the banks of the River Clyde, which runs alongside COP26.
Thunberg arrived in Glasgow Sunday by train and plans to take part in two large protests by the end of the week, one on Nov. 5 organized by Fridays for Future and another on Nov. 6 scheduled by various British environmental organizations.
Within the COP there are only politicians and people in power who pretend to take our future seriously, who pretend to take seriously the presence of the people who are already being affected today by the climate crisis. The change will not come from there. That's not leadership. This is leadership, Thunberg insisted while pointing at the protesters.
Earlier Monday, Thunberg had met with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who reportedly endorsed her struggle.
More than a million people signed an open letter from Thunberg in which she demands that leaders face the climate emergency. It sets out requirements that governments must meet to address climate change, including maintaining the goal of preventing the global temperature from rising more than 1.5 ° C this century from pre-industrial levels.
Activist groups plan noisy demonstrations during COP26, especially in the coming days.
One of the most organized, Extinction Rebellion, appeared to hint at its willingness to provoke riots and arrests as a way to garner the attention of world leaders. The Glasgow Times said police would not rule out hundreds of arrests a day. Although the environmental group did not advance how or where it will protest, it confirmed that it will use non-violent direct action. The British Government has deployed more than 10,000 specially trained officers equipped with high-tech devices.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace has been authorized by Scottish authorities to navigate with its Rainbow Warrior boat on the River Clyde, which passes through Glasgow. The organization has insisted on its determination to reach the city with the ship, even though the authorities prohibited it from entering the port.
The Latinas for Climate was also present at Thunberg's speech to protest against the extractivist model that finances technology to confront climate change, but that goes beyond the rights of women, according to Chilean activist Karin Watson.
This model steals, smears and pollutes the lands of indigenous peoples,” Watson added about the extraction of lithium, a strategic metal that is essential for the manufacture of batteries that power zero-emission electric vehicles.
To add to Glasgow's chaos, some 1,500 garbage collectors have gone on a strike to demand better wages, leaving containers empty and the streets stenchy.