Taking The Baton

relay baton

Phew! So glad to have participated in a 24km stage of the climate relay from Ben Nevis to Big Ben, together with a small group of other cyclists. It was fun but hot, and the baking temperature did not go unnoticed by lots of other people too. After all, this was the same day as Show Your Stripes – a national awareness day helping to turn the climate conversation into action by sharing Ed Hawkins’ famous warming stripes visualisation.

We carried the relay baton to Reading, in time for the closing of Reading Climate Festival 2024, yet another exciting event in itself. Two weeks of free events to inspire collective climate action – in schools, businesses, communities and homes – as Reading moves closer towards its ambitious goal of becoming climate-resilient and net zero by 2030.

There’s something very profound about people’s willingness to join in and carry this relay baton, handing it over to strangers from one stage to the next; walking, running, cycling and wheeling for over 2400km across Britain to achieve something extraordinary, collectively.

This is a relay that invites people of all ages and abilities to join in, because every one of us is able to take the baton and carry it forward, however small or big the distance. Different stages are covered by different people, in their twos and threes or tens and even hundreds. It’s a mass participation event that draws thousands of people to the same epic journey, becoming part of something that’s much bigger than any one of them.

Of course, that is the metaphor of Britain’s biggest climate relay and the power all of us have to do amazing things when we act together for climate and nature. It’s something that is borne out not only by the relay participants but also by the inspiring groups and organisations visited along the way that are pursuing their own purposeful goals to address the climate crisis locally.  

So many communities around the country are already taking the baton for climate and nature, and mobilising our better values in the process. The relay is one of many threads that is helping to weave these local stories into a bigger narrative about the transformative impact we can make by acting together where we live. From this viewpoint, we see the forest instead of trees and glimpse a thriving future through our collective actions.

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