Walking a small way to COP26: Doing our share for Climate Justice

Walking a small way to COP26: Doing our share for Climate Justice

04 August 2021 by Revd Derek Winterburn in Climate Change.

Team GB has fielded a number of very successful relays at the Olympics.

Athletes have ‘passed the baton’ from one to another to finish the race. Each has been a component in the greater achievement.

The world is facing a major change to keep to the promises national governments made at Paris in 2015 to limit carbon emissions.

In November representatives will make fresh promises at COP26, in the light of indications made in June at the G7 Summit.

There is a saying: ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’ There is no doubt that the road to COP26 in Glasgow is similarly paved. But good intentions are not enough, promises need to be kept.

So there is a relay from Carbis Bay, where the G7 was held, to Glasgow where COP26 with gather.

Organised by the Young Christians Climate Network - it is a cry from the younger generation to heed the need for change.

As a single pennant is passed from one group of walkers to another, it is a symbol of hope - ‘look what we can do together.’ Don’t be the break in the chain.

The relay came through the Kensington Episcopal Area on August 2nd. Starting at St Hilda’s Ashford, we walked through Bedfont, Feltham, at Twickenham to St Stephen’s Twickenham.


There were nine of us - three young people and six older ones supplementing them.

A good number were seasoned walkers, some had been part of a similar walk to Paris for the COP21, others had been on other marches for Climate Justice. The majority had been on the walk since Reading on Saturday (I was just doing today).

The walk was almost 12 miles and fairly straightforward (no mountains to climb or moors to cross!)


There were some stretches alongside busy roads, but most of the walking was quieter, beside the River Crane (or the Duke of Northumberland’s River).

Thankfully we were spared all the rain that had fallen in recent days and the weather was warm and mostly sunny.

As we passed through Twickenham, we called at Dial House, and Bishop Graham joined us for the last leg. (He even bought us all tea & biscuits at Marble Hill House!)

The team were finally received at St Stephen’s Church to a most welcome dinner.

The pennant goes on from Twickenham, through South London to St Paul’s Cathedral and then north through Muswell Hill to Oxford and then by November to Scotland!

Although some of today’s walkers have plans to rejoin the relay on other stages, no one person is walking the whole route.

This is a relay - all of us working together, doing our share, achieving something beyond a few: a parable of the care for creation that we share.

To find out more about the walk and how to join in for a leg, go to the Young Christian Climate Network website.

A short video of some members of YCCN talking about what the Relay to COP26 is all about is here. This was taken as they reached Lambeth Palace on their walk into Central London.

Revd Derek Winterburn

Derek Winterburn

Derek is vicar of St James Church, Hampton Hill in the Kensington Area of the Diocese of London. He is the Kensington Area Lead on Caring for God's Creation.

View all posts by Revd Derek Winterburn

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