By Hilary Maguire, Arran Eco Savvy Trustee, and member of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Scotland
At the end of 2022 Extinction Rebellion announced that they were going to make a controversial resolution temporarily to shift away from public disruption as a primary tactic. They committed to ‘including everyone in this work and leaving no one behind, because everyone has a role to play’. They prioritised ‘attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks, standing together and becoming impossible to ignore’. Their plan was to stage a huge demonstration in London from 21 to 24 April, centred on Westminster and Government departments to get their message across by the huge numbers of people attending and peacefully protesting. They hoped for 100,000 people. I knew I had to be there. In fact, more than 200 organisations were there giving their support: Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and so many more.
The Climate Choir movement has started very recently; Bristol Climate Choir’s first performance was in January this year.
What they said of their first performance:
‘We’ll use song for peaceful protest to get the message across: all of us have to act now. Harmonious sounds and energy fill the room. We’re ready to resonate and encourage other climate choirs around the country and beyond.’
I joined the Climate Choir movement in their performances on Friday 21 April, meeting at St James’s Park and marching and singing (we were in front of the huge samba band, so times when we were singing needed to be co-ordinated) and once we reached the main stage, performing there. We then carried on to the Treasury and sang outside that impressive building.
There are currently seven Climate Choirs in England, and one starting in Wales, but none yet in Scotland.
It’s hard to describe what a special experience it was; so powerful, so emotional, so moving.
I was so proud to be there.
We were singing two songs: Let us Stand and Voice of Change:
Here’s two links to videos of the Climate Choir at last Friday’s march:
The final lines of Voice of Change left so many of us and our audience in tears:
‘We can’t tell our children that we have not tried’
Something else that really resonated was the following day listening to Chris Packham before joining the Bio-Diversity March. It was also Earth Day and Chris Packham agreed with the main objective, that our mission was to build as wide a community as possible.
He said: ‘Our planet is in crisis and if we don’t take action then we will not protect that life, which includes us. One thing is clear and that is that we need to step up … We want every last person who cares to get involved because caring is not enough.’
I think a Climate Choir on Arran would be a very powerful way to get involved; what if we were to become the first Scottish Climate Choir to join the Climate Choir Movement?
Image credits to Bristol Climate Choir and Chris Heed, accessed at https://bristolclimatechoir.org/posts-template-use-this-to-start-new-post-2/