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Last Saturday over 100 people of all ages marched through town urging the government to act to stop climate change.

COP26: Hastings calls for action, not hot air

The population of Hastings has added its voice to the international marches appealing to our governments to act to stop climate change. Recent actions include a march through town, a protest at County Hall in Lewes and a call for Barclays Bank to stop funding fossil fuels. HOT’s Erica Smith catches up with the campaigners who are demanding an end to hot air.

Grandparents march for future generations

Last Saturday, 6 November, Hastings residents, led by local grandparents, marched through town and along to the seafront to the slow steady beat of a solitary drum. Carrying placards and a banner, they were there to highlight the dangers of climate change and to urge governments to act now.

One of the organisers, Madeleine Ehm, explained the background and aims: “The whole idea started about a year ago. There were seven of us. Pauline, one of our small group of like-minded friends, said: ‘I am so worried.’ She was referring to the state of our planet and the legacy we will leave behind for our children and grandchildren. COP26 had just been postponed by a year, due to Covid, so that gave us time to mull things over.

“It was clear that we all felt the same: angry, helpless but most of all deeply saddened about what is happening to nature and therefore to us! We wanted to ‘do something’ to express our concern. ‘Write to your MP’ – which we did. ‘Talk to your family and friends about it’ – which we did. And we decided to organise a local march, dressed in black and veiled as a sign of our mourning for our planet.”

The turnout exceeded the organisers’ expectations: at least 100 people took part on the march from the Stade, through town to Hastings Pier. One of the attendees said afterwards: “It was lovely to walk along with a group of people who care enough to show their concern. It lifted my spirits.”

Hastings residents also attended protests in Eastbourne and Brighton as part of the Global Day for Climate Justice called by the COP26 coalition.

Campaigners ‘sound a death knell’ for fossil fuels outside County Hall, Lewes on 3 November. PHOTO: Emily Mott

Sounding a death knell for fossil fuels

Three days earlier, on Wednesday 3 November, Hastings residents travelled to Lewes  to ring hand-bells outside County Hall. The protest was part of a national day of action calling on local councils to stop investing in fossil fuels. In August the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said that the UN’s latest climate report was “a code red for humanity [that] must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet”.

© Amanda Jobson

Fossil Banks? No thanks!

The previous Friday, 29 October, saw Hastings residents demonstrating outside the town centre branch of Barclays as part of a global day of action to demand that Big Finance stops funding fossil fuels.

Thousands of people took part in more than 100 protests spanning 26 countries and every continent on the planet as part of the #DefundClimateChaos day of action.

The UK’s biggest banks are among the worst in the world for funding fossil fuels: between them, Barclays and HSBC have poured £185 billion into fossil fuel projects since 2016.

What next?

On 7 December, campaigners from across East Sussex will join XR Lewes to declare County Hall in Lewes a ‘Climate Crime Scene’ by wrapping crime scene tape around the building as part of ‘a peaceful mass encirclement’ of the East Sussex County Council HQ. The action is planned to coincide with ESCC’s next full council meeting. To find out more about the planned action, visit the Divest East Sussex website.

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Posted 20:03 Wednesday, Nov 10, 2021 In: Campaigns

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