'Is this COP26 or is it a cop out? Action begins here'

The Walk2COP26 team setting off for Glasgow, backed by supporters from Camden

The Walk2COP26 team set off for Glasgow, encouraged by their supporters - Credit: Walk2COP26

The much anticipated COP26 – or more like cop out! - with China’s President Xi Jinping unlikely to attend, is starting on October 31.

Whilst we leave our illustrious world leaders to declare their pledges to meet net zero carbon emissions by 2050, phase out coal and provide climate finance to the developing world, the question is what can eco-worriers like you and me (you are reading this) do about it, locally?

My personal action plan kicked off at Highgate Road when we hosted a sending off ceremony for the @Walk2Cop26 team on the start of their 400 mile walk to, er, Glasgow. I almost felt like undertaking part of the journey with them, until I realised that I couldn’t actually walk any further than up Highgate hill, to the Flask pub!

Undeterred, there are still lots of immediate actions I am going to take. Firstly, I’m switching to a green energy supplier (thinkanddocamden.org.uk/switching-to-green-energy). Another simple energy saving solution is draft proofing my letterbox and other energy leaky areas around my home. Turning the temperature down by one degree will not only save lots of carbon, but cash.

Debbie Bourne will be giving away trees on Saturday.

Debbie Bourne can't walk to Glasgow for COP26 but she can make other changes - Credit: Debbie Bourne

Of course, I may have to walk to one of Camden’s many fab charity boutiques like Mary’s Living and Giving, and splash out on a warm designer jumper. But hey, we all have to make sacrifices. Right?

Talking about splashing out, where we invest our money has a direct impact on climate action. Watch out for the soon to be launched new Camden Council green bond.

Did you know that methane, emitted by cows, is a greenhouse gas which can heat the planet 80 times more than CO2? What’s on your menu? Last night I cooked burgers, but not just any burger. This was from a brand called Beyond Meat – a plant based burger. OMG, even my husband said he’d never need to eat a beef burger again. All I can say is that it was beyond delicious. It looked and tasted just like beef.

Appetites sated, it was back to reflecting on COP26. Yes, we all know that the big players have conceded that it will not achieve everything (much?) of what was hoped for. But what it is doing is bringing the climate crisis to the attention of people like you and me. Yes, we need our governments to be brave and make tough, ambitious decisions, but it’s also down to us. Every small action helps.

On that note, perhaps I will ditch my car and walk up to the Flask. They do serve a very nice British sparkling!

Debbie volunteers for @tkentishtown and thinkanddocamden.org.uk. She also designs wild gardens: ofbutterfliesandbees.co.uk

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