5 things we learned at COP

At the beginning of November, Green New Deal Rising welcomed hundreds of young people to a warehouse in Glasgow.

The aim was to bring our movement together in person, build an inclusive and welcoming space, and get ready to move our plan forward post-COP to win a Green New Deal, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations.

Here’s what we learned: 

1. The real work happens outside the conference centre

We knew this when we arrived but our time at COP just confirmed it. We cannot rely on the people with the official badges and the private jet planes to solve this crisis.

The strength, solidarity and commitment that we saw in our warehouse and among all the activists who protested in the streets was ten times more impressive than the empty words and broken promises of the people inside the conference.

we marched together through Glasgow for climate justice

2. A strong movement eats and sleeps together 

While we were in Glasgow we slept on church hall floors, in hostel dorm rooms and on friends’ sofas. We woke up early, we went to bed late and we didn’t shower. But we did it together and we looked after each other and it made us stronger than ever.

We also cooked and ate communally with a volunteer food team cooking meals for all 120 of us with just a kettle and a microwave! There were a lot of sandwiches and a lot of couscous… but through living together we made new connections and strengthened our movement. 

enjoying dinner after a long day of marching in the rain

3. Art matters

 One corner of our warehouse was a non-stop art factory, delicately painting eye-catching banners, beautifying umbrellas and churning out placards for when we marched.

Making art not only brought people together and made the most of our movement’s creativity, it also made sure that our bloc in the big Saturday march was all over the papers! 

Evie painting our big banner

4. Our allies in parliament are fighting just as hard alongside us 

In Glasgow, Nadia Whittome MP came over to our warehouse to show her support and give us a pep talk. She also led our march bloc on the Saturday along with Olivia Blake MP.

And back in Westminster, Sam Tarry MP was fighting our corner at Prime Ministers Questions, while Caroline Lucas MP, Zarah Sultana MP and Clive Lewis MP are pushing the Green New Deal bill forward. 

We challenge most politicians because they’re climate delayers (see our challenge of Rishi Sunak at COP here!). But there are some politicians who actually get it and who are fighting for a Green New Deal by our side.

Nadia Whittome MP keeping the energy up at the front of the march with Amina and Gary!

5. We are more than the sum of our parts 

We all did different things in Glasgow. Some of us made art, some of us made food, some of us looked after other people, some of us welcomed people in, some of us cleaned, some of us entertained, some of us posted on social media, some of us washed up, some of us challenged politicians, some of us supported the cleansing worker strikes, some of us marched, some of us did press interviews, some of us planned actions, some of us sang songs.

But one thing is clear - that through our collective efforts our movement has grown bigger and stronger and that’s just going to keep going. This is just the beginning. 

We have a choice – stand up and fight for our futures, or sit back and watch the bad guys win. What are you going to do?