Carrying a baton 4,800 miles in a non-stop relay from Glasgow to Cop27 in Egypt has come with its own set of challenges.
A particularly heartbreaking moment occurred half a mile down the English Channel when 18-year-old rower Maddie Plested attempted to hand over to a sailor on a boat.
“Tension levels were really high that day,” said Jamie Hay, who co-founded Running Out of Time, the organization attempting the world record relay.
“At the first attempt, they didn’t quite succeed. Maddie’s boat was taking on a lot of water so she bailed it out with her shoe while trying to maintain her position. They finally made it on the third try. It was amazing to see. We had so many passionate young people who came to defend this.
The stick carries a message, written in English and Arabic, from children at Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow, calling on leaders at this year’s climate summit to provide young people with “the skills and training to build a world sustainable”.
“We are committed to helping build an inclusive and sustainable future for all,” it read. “Show by your actions, not just words, that you are too.”
The mass participation relay saw hundreds of runners, cyclists and sailors carry the baton on a 38-day course through 18 countries.
“The way people reacted to it blew us away. People got out of bed at ridiculous hours to run the stick all night,” Hay said. “We had Olympians who participated, we had the President of Slovenia, probably thousands of children who participated. Everyone from all walks of life.
The relay was not the only eco-friendly journey across the continent as people made their way to the climate summit in Egypt.
Dan Hodd, 29, set out from Spain over a month ago and cycled, hitchhiked and roamed across the country on his flight-free journey to Cop27.
“I really wanted to highlight the importance of low-carbon travel around the world and illustrate many of the issues I faced for anyone who might be looking to travel more sustainably,” Hodd said, as he crossed the desert. in Saudi Arabia.
“We just don’t have very good sustainable international connections; everyone ends up being tricked into taking a macabre flight where you want to go.
Hodd, a British music psychology graduate who plays with his violin to help fund his travels, has previously protested to Scientist Rebellion and plans to participate in “everything possible of awareness and activism” when he will come to Egypt.
“The issues we face in the climate crisis can’t really be detailed through my fiddling, but it can certainly draw an audience and create connections,” he said.
But the overland journey was also a lesson in how the climate crisis and fossil fuel consumption affect real life.
“In Iraq, I had to wear masks all the time when I was cycling, because the air quality was so bad, the smell was so strong. I saw a lot of garbage scattered around this place, pollution water,” he said. “I’ve seen some comforting things, but it’s also been difficult and heartbreaking at times.”