West Cornish set out for Copenhagen

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Leaving Penzance next Sunday 6 December, school and boat launch 1 the children of Cornwall, facing the Atlantic storms in the far west of Britain, will be demonstrating their hope for the future by making their presence felt in Copenhagen during the Climate Change Conference next week.

The event is being organised by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, a charitable body caring for the flora & fauna of Cornwall.  However, in the face of the ever-increasing threats from Climate Change, not just to our wildlife, but also to our way of life, Wildlife Trust Chairman, Howard Curnow said, we felt that the very least we could do was to help the next generation have their say in Copenhagen.

“The children of the world will spend the whole of their lives mitigating, adapting to, and paying for, the effects of Climate Change … yet they have no place at the table at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.”

With the children will travel the Cornish pilot gig, ‘Cape Cornwall’, an 18th/19th century, six-man, high-speed rowing boat, taking the message that nations at the Conference must take a strong stand on the climate crisis, and protect the planet for future generations

Cornwall Wildlife Trust contacted all 75,000 schoolchildren in Cornwall, and with their support they have selected a small group of children between 10 and 16 years of age who will depart from Penzance for Denmark on the 6th December.

Arriving in Copenhagen on the 9th, they will team up with Danish children on the 10th December.  For the last kilometre they will escort the Cape Cornwall gig, whose team of rowers from the little village of St. Just, on the cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean, will guide their craft through the narrow canals of central Copenhagen, carrying the children’s presentation, their message of hope.

‘The arrival of a gig from Cornwall, on the western fringes of Europe, to Denmark, a maritime nation, has powerful symbolism,’ says Oliver Baines, who is travelling with the gig. ‘We want to show our solidarity with the Danish government as they seek to achieve an agreement.’

The journey to Copenhagen is the culmination of an autumn of events in Cornwall under the banner ‘footsteps to Copenhagen’.  The events have included rallies in seven towns in October, from Penzance to Liskeard, culminating with a rally on the Tamar Bridge on 31 October.  The next step will be the delivery of a Cornish declaration to Downing Street as part of the national Copenhagen rally, The Wave, in London on 5 December.

school and boat launch 2

Starting from Penzance at eight o’clock on Sunday the gig and the children will travel to Harwich, and from the Hook of Holland directly to Copenhagen.  The event in the city will take place on Thursday 9 December when the group will be received by a representative of the Danish government.

‘I’m really excited that this tiny place, Cornwall, is making such a statement,’ commented Mo O’Brien.  ‘It’s such a Cornish thing to be rowing a gig to the centre of Copenhagen’ added Fran Pender, a fellow gig rower.

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  1. Charlotte

    Well we did it, the Cape Cornwall was rowed along the river in Copenhagen and around the canals surrounding the Parliament Buildings and certainly attracted a fair bit of attention from foreign media. You could not miss us flying a 15 x 20 foot pink flag which certainly proved challenging under some of the low bridges. Great week.

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