Camino to COP

Thursday, 29 April 2021

XR Faith Bridge: Camino to COP 

People walking for the planet: a pilgrimage for climate justice 

This is a walk for everyone, although initiated by XRUK Faith Bridge. We will be walking from London to Glasgow, setting out on 6th September and arriving in Glasgow on the eve of the COP. A group has now been set up to plan a second starting point in Bristol, joining the walkers coming from London in Birmingham. 

The purpose of the walk is to build alliances and engage communities along the route - faith communities and other local communities - and to spread the word about the urgency of the need for meaningful action to address the global climate and ecological emergency. This is an opportunity for connection and outreach and is expressly not a physically disruptive or civilly disobedient action. Those involved are asked to sign up to this principle. 

Background 

XR Faith Bridge is an interfaith alliance across a broad spectrum from established religions to those who are SBNR (spiritual but not religious), and the concept of a pilgrimage walking from the centre of UK government in Westminster to the gathering of nations in Glasgow is one that fits naturally within its declared intention of working together “united for our sacred Earth”. XR Faith Bridge has a COP26 working group and this is one of our initiatives. 

The Camino to COP is inspired both by the faith tradition of pilgrimage and great justice marches of the past: the Jarrow March in the UK, the Salt March in India and the March on Washington in the US. 

Concept 

The walk will take place over an eight week period (56 days including a rest day each week) in relatively short stages (averaging around 10miles per walking day) to allow for as much participation and accessibility as possible and so that the focus is not simply on the physical act of walking, but also on interacting with the public where we can. Almost all stags are accessible by public transport so people can join for short relays. 

The walk is for everyone in XR and beyond, not just the faith communities - we all have much to give, much to share, and much we can learn from each other. The hope is that local XR groups will take part, and that local groups as well as faith groups will help us locate resources such as 

community halls, churches halls etc that will host our walkers each evening by providing food, somewhere to sleep and other facilities. It is also hoped that local groups will identify opportunities for walkers to to give talks within the communities through which they pass.

As we wish to allow space for as many aligned people as possible and the route and the stages of the walk are being developed to offer the opportunity for groups and individuals outside XR to get involved. Other aligned groups, including faith NGOs and arts projects will be invited to join us for all or part of the walk - everyone will be welcome to join us for any part of it. 

Route 

A spreadsheet has been created which shows the planned stops and the mileage between them from London to Glasgow but we will need to be flexible around where accommodation and opportunities for outreach are available and the spreadsheet will be updated over time. A most updated ‘working’ copy of this spreadsheet can be found pinned in the Telegram chat (details below). 

Details of the route from Bristol will be added later. 

Logistics 

To make this work we will require the goodwill and assistance of groups across the country. We are hoping that local XR groups, faith groups and others can help us with offers of accommodation, access to community halls, churches, or campsites that will host our walkers each evening by providing food, a place to sleep and other facilities. If you able to help with hospitality, opportunities for outreach, collaboration with other organisations, or other help, please could you fill in this form to help us keep track https://forms.gle/VdyN3vioQQsCLY4B7 

We will also be fundraising for the costs of supporting the walkers. 

Messaging 

The XR Faith Bridge COP26 working group suggests the proposed messaging of this walk for the future of the planet is centred on climate justice and amplifying MAPA (most affected people and areas) voices. However we recognise that other groups may wish to bring their own COP focus and these diverse perspectives will be welcome. 

Moving forward 

A core planning group has formed around this proposal and has made significant progress, but this is a big enterprise and we are looking for help. There are two ways to contact us if you are interested in finding out more about joining us on this adventure or in helping us with the

planning, by email if you have a specific query on caminotocop@gmail.com or by joining our Telegram chat https://t.me/joinchat/Ik_gFDJ-SHvX6wyz