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  • Writer's pictureTransition Town Ilford

Cop26 attendance by a TTI member

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

One of our members spent 10 days at Cop26 in Glasgow. Here are some extracts from her blog.

Nov 1

Many people in Glasgow have opened their homes to visitors for next to nothing.

We’re very grateful to our host for her warm hospitality.

All clear on our Covid tests, this morning we started our volunteering at the sustainable food venue(the Salvation Army). My role was to sign people into the workshops and meet and greet. I had an interesting conversation with my fellow volunteer, a student at the university from Shanghai, comparing what is happening in China and the UK on the Climate Change response.

At the end of the day we set off for the Blue Zone (the site where the COP negotiations are being held) to try and find an Earth Vigil group.

As we neared the site we heard the distinctive sound of XR drumming, and a protest rounded the corner flanked by massive numbers of police. At the head of the march was a banner which read “ How many cops does it take to arrest climate chaos?”

Nov 2

We are volunteering with Nourish Scotland, which is doing some great sustainable food projects both in Scotland and internationally. They are running a series of workshops at their venue(The Salvation Army). Today I listened in to one of them. It was about local projects turning urban spaces over to growing. An example was given of a school in Barnet which turned over some of its land to growing food, which was used for school lunches, and the students were also able to learn how to grow. Of course, in many city schools there isn’t that kind of space but a good idea. Working with government would include encouraging local authorities to procure food (eg for school lunches) from farms near to the city and from organic sources.

Nov 3

Peters photo exhibition of the effects of Climate Change in Bangladesh seems to be attracting interest.Today, by chance, the drivers of the Bangladesh delegation to the COP talks were in the cafe and they watched his slides. Some of them knew the issues first hand. Delegates from Bangladesh are pushing hard to include loss and damage to climate vulnerable countries like theirs.

Nov 7

Sunday, and a day off. I went to the Botanical Gardens to see the exhibition “Moths to a flame” It is a project to engage people in conversations about community energy whilst encouraging them to make a moth to add to the thousands and thousands of moths made of tracing paper which had been hung all over the glasshouses.

Nov 8

On our final day, we booked to attend several events in the Green Zone. (the UK governments exhibition space).

The first was a very powerful session on the need to respect the knowledge of indigenous peoples as a way for the rest of us to get to sustainability, as they have lived in reciprocity with the rest of nature for many generations.

The second session was a film on the Great Green Wall of Africa.

The aim is to create massive corridor of trees stretching right across from West to East Africa beneath the Sahel desert to prevent further desertification. This vast area has become even drier as a result of climate change so that people can no longer farm there. The film describes the agonies of huge numbers of young people who have no option but to set out on the dangerous migration route to Europe because their land yields no more. It also tells of the conflicts being created by the instability there.

The last film of the day was on how science is able to carefully evidence climate change. We had been invited to look through two different lens during the day, one which was about listening to the lived knowledge and experience of people “on the ground” and the other about the value of carefully evidenced science, which is the kind of wisdom the West listens to.

Afterwards I took a look around the stands. To me they were very disappointing, as many were focused on technological fixes, or corporate sponsors claiming to be green. There were few NGO’s or activists represented. It was a sad reflection of our government’s approach to the climate emergency, and how lacking it is in imagining a vision for a better future, let alone a vision for climate justice.

If you would like to read the full diary of blogs check out these links.

Ruth Musgrave, TTI secretary

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