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Claudia Alongi, a pilgrim on The Climate Pilgrimage, shares her stories from the journey.

On October 4th, 2018, I started the The Climate Pilgrimage from Rome to Katowice, Poland for the United Nations Climate Conference.

I began the walk with a group of people that I haven’t met before. They are pilgrims from all over the world, different cultures and languages, but we are united in a great value: The love for our common home, our sisters and brothers beyond any boundary.

Our planet is on the way towards destruction caused by negligence, arrogance, and greed. The poorest and most vulnerable communities suffer the worst. In early October, we went to the streets to walk together and to make noise with our steps, calling for a radical ecological conversion to the great people of the earth.
We’re one week on the road. These days have been intense, hard, and exciting. We met communities, parish groups, activists, students, bystanders, and people with whom we shared a simple greeting.
In their faces, we saw the wonder and curiosity about our pilgrimage. Everybody asked the same question: Why are you walking to Katowice, Poland?

I’ve asked the same question myself. While I walk, many answers come to my mind.

Walking on the sides of roads, up and down the forests, surrounded by nature, we have been caught by strong aromas, sounds, eyes, and different languages. You almost don’t believe it. It does not seem real to take a walk with many partners, one speaking English and the other in French. And by miracle you can start conversation, talk in different languages, united in the love for nature.

While walking, we saw places of incredible beauty, we were hosted by extraordinary people who welcomed unknown travelers. With a spirit of gratitude, admiration and support for our journey.

Beautiful communities like Anguillara Sabazia, Campagnano di Roma, Romita di Cesi, Spoleto, Trevi, and today Foligno were the first stage of our journey. Tomorrow Assisi!

We talked, we shook hands, we shared smiles, we asked questions, we shared concerns and worries on a overheated, sick, dirty, and gasping planet that we will give to our future generations.

In these places, we have discovered that we are not alone. We all believe that we can change and there is still hope.

Walking, we discovered that the world desperately needs dreamers who bring together their individual dreams. Hopes that unite the different people. People who bring together actions, small gestures, good practices. Everyone who can help to stop climate change.

We really need walkers who will join their steps on the shared way to care for the planet Earth and for justice between those who own and waste and those who suffer and are discarded.

Why do we walk? Because as Erlin Kagge, a Norwegian writer, says: “I put my shoes on. I let my thoughts wander a bit. And now I’m sure of one thing: putting one foot in front of the other is one of the most important actions we can perform. So let’s go.”

This story was originally published by FOCSIV, which is leading the Italian portion of The Climate Pilgrimage. More information is here.