A week since the start of the COP26 Climate summit in Glasgow, environmental NGOs organised two separate events on Saturday to draw attention to climate change, one in Nicosia and one in Paphos.
With the message ‘Change the system, not the climate,’ a march was held in central Nicosia by the Cyprus Environmental Movement and Bicommunal Action Against Climate Change.
Activists walked from the Ledra-Onasagorou junction at Eleftheria square, to the Ledra street checkpoint where they met up with Bicommunal Action Against Climate Change, which is made up of Greek and Turkish Cypriot environmental groups and movements.
Representatives read out speeches in both Greek and Turkish and handed out flyers before continuing the march back down Onasagorou street and ending at Eleftheria square.
The speech demanded “actions, not just words,” expressing the worry that the summit will be a repeat of big words and empty promises instead of striving towards climate justice.
It also mentioned the heatwaves that Cyprus experienced this summer as a result of climate change, and made reference to nuclear energy, which “cannot be seen as a solution as it is neither clean, nor renewable”.
Meanwhile, pupils between the ages of 9 and 18 from Paphos and Nicosia public and private schools gathered in a peaceful protest outside Paphos town hall, holding placards with slogans like ‘The climate is changing – why aren’t we?’ and ‘The future is in your hands’.
The demonstration was organised by the Cyprus conservation foundation Terra Cypria and the team behind Generation KLIMACT, a project that trains children and teenagers in climate change issues, aiming to create the first informed movement which will demand climate action on the island.
Both events were attended by local MPs and representatives from the Green Party, Akel and Disy.