6 November 2021
30 young climate campaigners unfurl the ‘eyes of the world’ banner in a final effort to send the message to the UK government and world leaders that they must ensure those worst affected by the climate crisis are put at the heart of their climate talks.
In stunts at the Green Zone at COP26 and the Global Day of Action march in Glasgow on Saturday 6th November, CAFOD’s climate campaigners held the climate banner reminding the government that “The ‘Eyes of the World’ are watching”, as the first week of talks came to an end.
Over 50,000 children and young people across England and Wales have taken part in the campaign- championed by Catholic aid charity CAFOD – to urge world leaders to take action.
“For me, the Eyes of the World banner journey serves as a pledge that we young activists stand with the poorest countries hardest hit by this crisis. We are here in Glasgow in large numbers to ensure that the biggest contributors to this crisis – rich countries - are made accountable and take responsibility,” said CAFOD climate campaigner Alex Ugoh, 19 from Rainham.
He goes on to describe how it feels to be at COP26:
“The anticipation has been extremely high for what could be quite a defining moment in history. I feel a mixture of excitement, duty, privilege, and proudness. For so long, we have fought to be heard but our young climate heroes – activists such as Bella Lack and Liz Wathuti, are making sure that they are taking centre stage,” said Alex.
Climate campaigner Sophie Pereira, 18, from Colchester, also in Glasgow said, the ‘Eyes of the world’ banner has been a great avenue for young people to have a platform.
“As young people, we are the next future. We are going to be the people living in the world that the generation before us, left. Because of that, we deserve a voice and deserve to stand together and fight for the world we’re living in - before it’s too late. I believe the youth deserve to be standing right next to the world leaders contributing to their decisions. I am so grateful to be representing the young people of the UK at COP26,” said Sophie.
The ‘Eyes of the World’ banner first made an appearance on the opening day of the G7 summit in Cornwall, accompanied by a massive art installation, created by pupils from St Mary’s primary school in Falmouth.
The banner continued to travel to 10 other landmarks across the UK including: Brighton Old Pier, Dover White Cliffs, London Houses of Parliament, Oxford Rad Cam, Cardiff Senedd, Salford Cathedral in Manchester, Liver building in Liverpool, Blackpool tower, York Minster, Angel of the North in Gateshead, reaching its 12th and final destination in Glasgow at COP26.
Catholic aid charity CAFOD, who has coordinated the journey of the banner, hopes that the impact of the 'Eyes of the World' campaign will be seen in the decisions made by the world leaders in the coming week.
Monica Conmee, CAFOD’s Head of Education, concluded:
“We would like to say a huge thank you to all of the schools and young people who have taken part in the ‘Eyes of the World’ campaign - your actions will make a huge difference to those living with poverty and injustice.
“We know that young people really care about reaching out to people around the world. They are the ones demanding change and this campaign has given them a stage to raise their voices.
Children and young people have courageously led humanity to step up to the challenge of the unprecedented threat of the climate crisis and the destruction of our common home. They have debated in their classrooms, with their friends and families, contacted their MP’s and the Prime Minister. They recognise that the decisions made in COP26 need to offer concrete hope to them and future generations.
“I hope that the world leaders at COP26 listen to the voices of children, young people and the Catholic community - and takes seriously their duty to look out for global communities already impacted by the climate crisis.”