To celebrate Black History Month, Yvonne Blake from Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment will be interviewing Black people in the movement which will be shared on the website. 

To kick things off, first hear from Yvonne about why she has been organising with the COP26 Coalition for close to 18 months: 

My name is Yvonne Blake and I am the co-founder of MORE, Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment, a grassroots, migrant lead organisation in Glasgow campaigning for asylum seekers and displaced people’s access to employment, education, decent, housing and dignity.

I’m also a member of the COP26 Coalition, one of the organisers of the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice on the 6th November 2021. 

It is pertinent when discussing COP26 to highlight that Glasgow is the largest dispersal city for people seeking international protection in the United Kingdom. 

This is not coincidental. It is a direct result of policies of the global north and old colonial powers such as the United Kingdom. The UK’s wealth and security is built on a system of oppression, based on land grabbing, the extraction of human and natural resources, and the supporting and financing of unjustified wars . All of this leads to environmental degradation, destabilization of governments and regional infrastructure, loss of life, gender-based violence and persistent poverty. 

The presence of COP in Glasgow could easily be referred to as the modern day City of Two Tales as depicted by Charles Dickens.

The climate crisis is about global inequality. It is about land grabbing, the extraction of natural and human resources – especially those belonging to the global South – and the deliberate destruction of what cannot be extracted. Consequently, climate change can only and ought only to be viewed through the lens of injustice. This is an urgent humanitarian ecological crisis, and we must finally address is with a social and reparative justice focus.

In the words of Dr Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We have a duty to give the planet to the future generations in the best possible condition. There is no planet B. 

At COP26, we are hoping that the voices and the concerns of the Global South will be centred. We hope that the negotiations will lead to tangible action based on climate justice. We need to see legal recognition and protection of climate refugees, we need to see an international equitable monetary policy with debt cancellation for all countries in the Global South. 

The UK and other Global North countries need to do their fair in cutting emissions, rather than investing in false solutions, and they must support adaptation to the already dire effects of the climate crisis. Land grabbing in pursuit of extracting resources in the Global South must stop. The cultures and food sovereignty of countries in the Global South must be respected. 

I would like to take this opportunity to implore the people of Glasgow to get involved in the COP26 Coalition. Ally with communities most impacted and listen to their experiences. 

Come to the Global Day of Action on the 6th November, attend the People’s Summit 7-10th November, sign up to host an indigenous or Global South activist via the Homestay Network. Let’s make sure climate justice is central to the COP26 Negotiations. 

Support MORE (Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment) with your time, expertise and resources.