Community gathers to remember lives lost from climate-related events

At 8pm on Saturday 11th November men, women and children came together in Chichester, Midhurst, Petersfield and surrounding villages to observe a 20-minute candlelit gathering to remember the thousands of people in the UK (and millions globally) whose lives, livelihoods and homes have been lost as a result of our changing climate: from floods and storms to extreme temperatures and wildfires.
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Similar gatherings took place across the country including Bristol, Wales and Scotland.

The events are the brainchild of Bev Exall, a 57-year old mother of two from Haslemere, Surrey. She says: “I’m so proud and grateful to the people across the UK who stood in solidarity at the weekend to show their support for affected families and communities. Together, we have sent a clear message to politicians and others in power that we need urgent change to stop more lives and livelihoods being lost due to climate-related weather events. My hope is that these candlelit gatherings will become yearly events and, by this time next year, there will have been significant changes in policy and decision-making by those in power.”

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Bev said she had received some criticism about the date of the gatherings. She said: "I would not have chosen to hold these on Remembrance Sunday as I felt that was disrespectful, however the gatherings were at 8pm on Saturday, that being a respectful distance from the 11am two minutes silence.

The Cross, ChichesterThe Cross, Chichester
The Cross, Chichester

"Every year, I very solemnly honour their sacrifices of all our war dead. Especially the ones who were NOT willing to give their lives but had no choice. And every year, since my son was born, I have held him tightly on Remembrance Sunday and cried and thanked god that we did not live 100 years ago.

"I cry for the Mothers who had to watch their beloved sons go to war knowing they were unlikely to see them again. But I have come to know, through extensive reading of the scientific literature, that both my son and daughter are unlikely to live a happy, healthy life.

"They have little future as things are going. Therefore I, as a mother, will do everything I can to try to ensure they do have a future. I am climate aware, as are many others, and time is running out. I am not seeking to persuade anyone to the climate cause. Those who are unaware of what is coming, will know soon enough.

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"This was not a protest but a memorial for the lives lost that have so far not been collectively acknowledged. I know that my grandfathers would understand and appreciate what I am trying to do for my children and would have joined me on Saturday.”