Drafted in response to the first multi-partner Zoom meeting called by Pilgrimage for COP26 in June 2021.
Pilgrimage for COP26 – a walk and a learning journey from Dunbar to Glasgow from the 17th to 31st October 2021.
Why are we walking?
- We’re walking to raise awareness of the climate and ecological crisis.
- We’re reflecting on that crisis as it relates to our own lives, the communities we pass through and the lives of those already impacted; both human and more-than-human.
- We’re building a community of witness and resistance committed to climate justice now and in the wake of COP26.
We’re living in a time of multiple crises. In November, Glasgow will host COP26, the international climate negotiations that have the colossal task of leading us out of the climate emergency in the midst of a global pandemic still unfolding. Averting the worst impacts of climate change means transforming a system defined by injustice – and all action currently taken seems too little, too late.
Whatever the outcome of COP26, we want to use this moment to slow down, listen deeply, and reimagine, collectively, what it means to be ecological. That means taking time to deepen our relationship to ourselves, one another and the ecosystems we’re part of.
A pilgrimage has always been a journey into the unknown, a time to walk with questions and be with the messy complexity of the world as it is. It also means walking with hope.
On this pilgrimage we will ask: What stories are each of us carrying? What are the stories of the people, places and ecologies we will pass through? What is the bigger story of our time? What calls us to hope? What leads us to despair? What practices do we need to let go off? What practices do we need to embrace? What futures can we imagine and are we prepared to walk towards them?
In the two weeks leading to COP26 we will walk from Dunbar to Glasgow, using two well-trodden pathways, The John Muir Way from Dunbar to Kirkintilloch (with minor diversions) and St Ninian’s Way from Kirkintilloch to Glasgow.
Beginning with a launch event in Dunbar on the 17th October, we will set off on the 18th, to arrive in Glasgow on the 29th – with key events taking place in Edinburgh from the 21st to 24th and in Glasgow on the 30th and 31st.
Along the way we will reflect on the socio-ecological crises of our time, bear witness to the impact of the fossil fuel industry, past and present, and be inspired by people and projects who are pioneering change in different ways.
We will take time away from our daily routines to deepen our connection to ourselves, to one another and to the world we share. Through walking and resting, conversation and silence, planned engagements and unexpected encounters, we will deepen our awareness, expand our sense of time, and – most of all – practice our muscle of hope.
[Hope] has nothing to do with wishful thinking. It is a muscle, a practice, a choice: to live open-eyed and wholehearted in the world as it is and not as we wish it to be … hope calls me to attend, too, to the world that wants to be born.Krista Tippett
Everyone is invited to walk with us, for the whole or part of the pilgrimage, or to join us for an event en route. (For those with mobility challenges there are other ways to engage with the pilgrimage – and this is encouraged.) Children and young adults under 18 years of age are also welcome – although parental consent is required.
Participating organisations include Deep Time Walk Project, Interfaith Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scotland, John Muir’s Birthplace, North Light Arts, Scottish Dance Theatre, and more.
What happens after COP26
Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.Rebecca Solnit
We hope that everyone who joins us for the pilgrimage, whether for the whole or part of the journey, as walkers or supporters, will return transformed by the experience. We hope that the connections forged between us, the people we meet on the journey and the ecologies we encounter, will help grow a supportive network for collaboration and collective action going forward. As each of us return to the communities we’re committed to and the ecosystems we’re part of, the pilgrimage will only be one chapter of a longer story. May it be one of hope.