Pride in London, which takes place tomorrow, has declared a climate emergency in response to demands made by Extinction Rebellion.
Over the years the organisers behind London’s third largest one day event have worked hard to reduce its environmental impact each year. As a public, unticketed event with over a million people visiting the capital to support the event, it has a sphere of control which includes 1,000 volunteers, 30,000 parade group participants, who are bound by a code of conduct and the tens of thousands who take to the streets in support of LGBTQI+ equality.
Initiatives the Community Interest Group has undertaken include signing the OneLess pledge, which encourages London to go to single-use-plastic free along with working with the Refill app team at City to Sea to enable volunteers and participants to refill water. In 2018 Pride in London signed up over 50 central London businesses to become official refill points.
All of our volunteers are issued with a refillable bottle on the day, and Pride in London has introduced hydration cubes across our footprint - 20,000 litres of water will be available to the public to refill. Parade groups are encouraged to be innovative in the way they keep their participants hydrated, with some groups bringing hydration backpacks. Where single-use water is unavoidable (ie backstage), Pride in London supplies aluminium cans rather than plastic.
Pride in London has been free from plastic glitter since 2017 – all glitter used by make-up artists or sold at Pride in London merchandise stalls is certified Ecoglitter. Parade participants are not permitted to flyer, sticker or release balloons along the route in order to minimise the waste on our streets.
Pride in London also takes place within the Ultra Low Emissions Zone and in 2019 has stopped groups from bringing buses to Pride, except in support of communities who have access requirements. We encourage parade participants to use low carbon vehicles and prioritise electric vehicles in parade applications. We do not allow diesel powered ice cream vans in any of our areas.
Having met with Extinction Rebellion LGBTIQ we are aligned on the fact that everyone needs to respond to the ecological crisis, and that minority causes are likely to be impacted most by planetary breakdown. For this reason, we are joining them in declaring a climate emergency and will be taking steps to review our impact to make Pride in London carbon neutral by 2020.
We acknowledge the problematic nature of the ecocidal profiteering of some of the groups in the parade and will consider our next steps on this carefully, in consultation with our Community Advisory Board (who are currently recruiting an Environment & Sustainability Representative), to hold businesses accountable to not just their support for the LGBTQI+ community when they take part in Pride, but also their impact on the planet year-round.