3 reasons to be optimistic after COP26

How are you feeling after COP26?

In my online echo chambers there is much despair, and this same feeling seems to be circulating in the media too. It is completely valid, seeing as there some big, missed goals and (wait for it…) reports that there were more fossil fuel lobbyists present at COP26 than there were people from any single country. I know! But please let’s not lose sight of the things we HAVE accomplished. I've had my head inside the sustainability world for 12 years now and it’s amazing to reflect on the really LONG way we have come in that time. And whilst we shouldn’t now stop campaigning (far from it) I see three astoundingly positive points that have come out of COP26 and wanted to highlight.

1. ENDING DEFORESTATION
Over 100 countries have agreed to end deforestation by 2030, which is (finally) recognition that nature plays a huge part in helping us out of this mess. (Yes, nature IS more powerful than humans - and always will be! Glad this is becoming clear to the Alpha-human-chest-puffers out there…) 

2. POWER FROM THE PEOPLE
Public awareness and knowledge has grown hugely with this COP. We people are the driving force. Let’s keep the momentum building.

3. WILLINGNESS TO ACT
Political engagement with the climate crisis, and commitment to its solutions, is also greatly increased. COP will now be an annual event (rather than every 5 years) and the climate temperature increase is now finally agreed on being set at 1.5•C, rather than at 2•C. Phew. 

It’s still pretty bloody hairy, but we are headed in the right direction. Enormous thanks is deserved to all those leading the way. Our beloved Sir David Attenborough, the formidable Greta Thunberg and the people’s spokesperson George Monbiot are to name but a few. 

So what can you do?

  • Keep the pressure on the powers that be. Hold them accountable for these promises.
  • Talk, talk and talk. We have the power of influence - as friends, community members, family members etc. The more that lifestyle and system changes are normalised the better.
  • Sign petitions (35 Degrees is a good one for keeping abreast of climate campaigns
  • Join or set up local groups. Try Eco Action Families and some of the main environmental charities have local groups too.
  • Make any changes you can to your household (see my side project The Shift for ideas).
Please let’s not make COVID-19 a practice run for something far worse.

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