This year’s Day of Action coincided with COP26Ryan Coppack

Activists of all ages assembled at Great St Mary’s Church and Parker’s Piece in Cambridge yesterday (06/11) to demand greater action in addressing the climate crisis.

Marching as part of the COP26 Coalition for the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, protestors gathered to put pressure on governments and corporations and to call for “climate action that works for all of us, not just the people with the most money in their pocket”, as one leaflet stated.

This year’s Day of Action was particularly significant as it coincided with COP26, the United Nations global climate conference in Glasgow. Protestors in Cambridge united with thousands across the UK – in cities such as Glasgow and London – and with many more from across the world.

Members of Extinction Rebellion Cambridge meditated together in a ‘Silent Rebellion’ on the grass outside King’s College ChapelRyan Coppack

Chants such as “this is what democracy looks like” and “we are unstoppable, another world is possible” were bellowed at the rally, and banners and placards contained statements such as “drowning in oil, choking in gas”.

In attendance at the rally was Zak Coleman, the Cambridge Students’ Union Undergraduate President. In a statement given to Varsity, Coleman said: “Today, the Cambridge Community came together calling for a just response to the climate emergency. Students rightly demanded that Cambridge University finally cuts its research and sponsorship funding ties with the fossil fuel industry”.

Coleman continued, affirming that “it is long past time that the University committed to end all partnerships with the fossil fuel industry, as well as committing to bring forward its net zero plans to a commitment to eliminate its emissions entirely by 2030, as Glasgow University has already done”.


Mountain View

In pictures: Extinction Rebellion ‘Funeral March’ processes through Cambridge city centre

Also present on King’s Parade were members of Extinction Rebellion Cambridge, who meditated together in a ‘Silent Rebellion’ on the grass outside King’s College Chapel.

Protestors assembled outside Great St Mary’s Church at 1pm, before proceeding to march to Parker’s Piece just after 1.20pm. The procession arrived at Parker’s Piece at 1.55pm, just before the Climate Fair.

Music and speeches were heard at the fair from 2pm, and a cacophony of alarm clocks and horns were sounded at 3pm in a symbolic attempt to get world leaders at COP26 to “wake up” to the scale of the challenges posed by climate change.

Speakers at the Climate Fair included Daisy Thomas, a third-year student at Cambridge and active member of the university’s Climate Justice Campaign, and Junayd Islam, a Natural Sciences student and member of Friends of River Cam.

In a three-minute speech at the Climate Fair, Daisy Thomas criticised the University of Cambridge for its ties with the fossil fuel industry, declaring that “we are living and learning in an institution that prioritises profit from destruction and exploitation”.

Alarm clocks and horns were sounded at to get world leaders to “wake up” to the scale of climate changeRyan Coppack

Thomas ended with the message that “while the university tries to divide us, we must stand together and fight hand in hand for a just future for this city, this community, and this planet”.

The demonstration this weekend followed other episodes of climate-related action in Cambridge in recent weeks, including Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Funeral March’ last Saturday.