Devastating wildfires. Unprecedented heatwaves. Flooding that has overwhelmed even the best-prepared countries. If anyone doubted that our planet’s climate is changing already, 2021 has been a wake-up call. And this is just the start of what might happen if we don’t act, and fast, to reduce emissions. As the latest IPCC report states, even keeping the temperature rise to 1.5C will require “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions”.
As we said in our action in April, we have just seven years to avert a climate disaster. But that doesn’t mean we can wait for six years and then leap into action. Like massive tankers, the global, UK, and even Scottish economies will take time to change direction. Far too much of what we’ve seen announced already has been about actions five or ten years in the future, when we need to act now. The IPCC report is clear: this will be too late to avert a rise in temperature to 3C, which will lead to catastrophe.
All this feels pretty scary, and it’s easy to feel helpless when the problem is so huge and the responses on offer so inadequate. As individuals, our best hope (and the antidote to despair) is to concentrate on the areas where we can make the most difference. That’s why we’ve been focusing so hard on campaigning for better cycling conditions here in Scotland. We know that cycling alone cannot solve the problem of climate change. But we know that it can be part of the solution (indeed, it’s part of many solutions to many problems). Most of all, it can be part of the solution now.
The humble bike (or trike) is already the perfect tool for so many of our everyday journeys – as long as there is safe space to cycle in. And we needn’t wait long for that. Cities like Paris and London have shown that protected lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods can be rolled out at speed and scale – and that people will respond by cycling like never before.
République du vélo. pic.twitter.com/XAvVbSjypL
— Commute de Paris (@CommuteDeParis) June 1, 2021
That’s why we want to see bikes forming a huge presence at this year’s UN Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26). We want to remind our policymakers, from world leaders to local councillors, that the solution to the crisis we face lies not just with electric cars and technological solutions. And we need you on board, wherever you live:
- If you’re in Glasgow, or can get there, we’re forming part of the big mobilisation on Saturday November 6th, as we join many other blocs to form a Cycling Bloc (sustainable transport) section of the march. We probably won’t cycle during the demo itself, but there will be feeder rides from across Glasgow, to bring in as many people as possible.
- If you live outside Glasgow, or even outside Scotland, and can manage it, we’re aiming to have cyclists converging on the city from every corner of the country, bringing messages of support from their communities.
- If you can’t make it to Glasgow, you can send a banner or hold your own demonstration locally.
There will be more information as we work out the details and liaise with other groups – but for now, what we want to know is if you can help and if so, how. Please get in touch via our email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
We’ve been campaigning for almost a decade now to make Scotland a cycle friendly country. But now we need to act to keep earth a human friendly planet.