• Jack Davey

Dramatic Call for Climate Action by Line in the Sand

On Friday the 24 September, hun- dreds of people filled the streets of St Andrews for the Line in the Sand march, clamouring for drastic action to combat the climate emergency.

The protestors marched wielding signs which declaimed the consequences of inaction. They read “no more empty promises”, “wake up” and the recur- rent “there is no planet B”. The new exploration of the Cambo oil field was a lightning rod for criticism with chants of “keep it in the soil” rever- berating around the town. Organisers estimated that approximately 800 people joined the march on its journey from St Salvator’s quad to West Sands. The motto of Fridays for Future, the wider international movement of which the march was part, is “all for climate”, this message was clearly on display as one protestor told The Saint. “What struck me was the diverse backgrounds of all of us demonstrating, young or old, we were speaking with one voice.” On a blustery West Sands, the crowd was heartened by speeches given by a range of speakers from schoolchildren to even the local MP Wendy Chamberlain. North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie was also present at the march and said, “The next generation, many of them at Line in the Sand today, will be judging the legacy of today's governments on how well they do on this issue.” Protestors formed a human line in the sand to emphasise the urgency of the moment, and the need for drastic action. Stretching for hundreds of yards the line embodied the spirit of the march. Bhavya Palagudi, one of the organisers of the event, told The Saint, “It’s important to show solidarity and show how people are together in this.” The protest on the beach also included beach art which fading in the sand as the tide flowed showed the dangers of sea-rise for communities across the globe. In addition to the protest in St Andrews, protestors across Fife staged Line in the Sand protests in Dalgety Bay and Kirkcaldy. With Greenweek taking place in Week 5, organisers stressed the importance of continued action and a focus on climate justice. Palagudi continued, “In all that we are doing it's not just a focus on climate change but on social justice as a part of that.” Transition St Andrews then organised a beach clean so that everyone present could do their bit to help the environment collecting 2 kg of plastic waste. Direct action such as this was important for the organisers, to show that all could play their part in improving their environment. Raising awareness and stressing the need for action before the upcom-ing COP26 summit in Glasgow was at the forefront of protestors' minds. Lea Weimann, one of the organisers said, “Politicians need to realise we are watching. This is not just a PR campaign.” Asked for her thoughts on the future she added, “Inaction is crimi- nal but together we are unstoppable.” The passion of the protestors was undeniable with one young schoolgirl shouting, “How many more times will we have to do this?” Even as the sunset organisers were thinking about how they could do more to place policymakers and improve the environment around them. In such an important period for climate change activists, organisers of the protest pledged that they would continue raising awareness and fostering sustainability across the community. Those who wish to get further involved in climate change activism at St Andrews can contact Transition or the environment subcommittee. Transition St Andrews: transition@st-andrews.ac.uk https://www.transitionsta.org E n v i r o n m e n t Subcommittee: eande@standrews.ac.uk

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