A Day in Glasgow During COP26
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Greener Kirkcaldy’s Communications and Events Coordinator, Andrea, spent a day in Glasgow during COP26. In this blog, she shares her experience. 

From demonstrations on Buchanan Street to spending some time at the green zone and going to a panel discussion all about “Raising the Voices of the Youth to Participate”, in the city centre, I had quite an eventful day exploring Glasgow during COP26.

Getting Into Glasgow

It started with getting to Glasgow by bus, which for me, is always the easiest and cheapest way to get there. I got into the city at about 12pm and started to have a wander to see what was going on, starting at Buchanan street where protesters and demonstrations lined the streets. I also saw a lot of cameras and a few news reporters too. It was quite interesting to see the creativity from everyone, using art, placards and costumes to share their messages. A personal favourite of mine was the “Greenwash Busters”. After some time taking in the atmosphere in the city, I headed over to a panel discussion hosted by Holyrood Magazine and chaired by Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Bruce Adamson. 

Protesters on Buchanan Street
How many COPs to arrest climate chaos
Greenwash Busters
Holding up signs on Buchanan Street

“Raising the Voices of Youth to Participate”

“Raising the Voices of Youth to Participate” provided such a great discussion about young people and climate change. As a young person engaged in climate action, it is an issue very close to my heart. Some of the speakers were very inspirational and some great organisations represented. 

The event started with a video from Scotland’s Climate Assembly, entitled: “We Need Action Now” Children’s Parliament Investigates Climate Change. A great insight into children’s views on climate change. The panel featured Vida Han from Force of Nature, Marsha Smith from IKEA UK and Ireland, Abi Gardener at Nature Scot, 2050 Climate Group’s Hannah Clark, and Dr Emma Woodham from Glasgow Science Centre. 

Here are some things that stood out to me from the discussion:

“Their voices are so powerful; their experiences are so powerful” Bruce Adamson on his experience working with children on climate issues.

Vida Han on the effects of eco-anxiety on some people “It gives us that fuel to take action”. This struck a chord with me. I often view my eco-anxiety as negative, but if it wasn’t there I probably wouldn’t be taking actions to reduce my environmental impact in my life.

“It’s not just down to young people to create their own opportunities.” Abi Gardener. She also said, on identifying greenwashing “Forgive yourself if you are not completely on top of it”.

“Every pound I spend is my vote for the future” Dr Emma Woodham.

“Anything you do, do it in collaboration with other people.” Hannah Clark

A key statistic that stood out for me is that in a survey led by the University of Bath of 10,000 people aged 16-25 years old from 10 different countries, 75% said that the future is frightening. The survey results were released in September 2021. 

Holyrood COP26 Fringe Festival
Panel Discussion

COP26 Green Zone

Feeling inspired, I borrowed a bike from one of the many bike borrowing stations throughout the city centre and headed over to the COP26 Green Zone. Then later, I borrowed a bike for the way back. My experience generally was good and it got me places quicker. However, if you are, like me, not native to Glasgow it can be a bit difficult to navigate around the city.

I don’t know what I anticipated seeing in the Green Zone but it was different to what I expected. Although I hadn’t booked any events, it was good to have a look around at some of the exhibitions and take in the atmosphere. I took part in a mini Climate Fresk game which really challenged my climate knowledge. It started with an image of rising temperature and then uncovering the causes and outcomes. I got some fairly easy, but others were a bit more challenging. 

In other areas of the green zone, there were art installations including a whole wall of climate art and a whole range of exhibitors sharing their innovations and efforts to combat the climate emergency. 

Outside Glasgow Science Centre – Climate Art
Inspiration from David Attenborough
From Climate Art Wall – The House is on Fire

Reflections

Overall, it was great to get a full picture of what is going on in and around Glasgow. It is undeniably atmospheric and full of people passionate about the climate crisis, but it is clear to see people are channeling this in many different ways. Personally I hope the legacy of this COP is positive and leads to big moves in the right direction to tackle the climate emergency. 

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