Working together to commit and take action

Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaking on the main stage in George Square as part of the Fridays f

Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaking as part of the Fridays for Future Scotland march during the Cop26 summit - Credit: PA

By the time you read this article COP26 will be coming to a close.

For many it is a time of suspense: especially those from low-lying countries from the Netherlands to the Pacific Islands and those in dry, water-scarce areas from sub-Saharan Africa to southern Spain.

But even those in the US, Australia, the Mediterranean regions plagued by forest fires, or those affected in northern Europe by flooding with sewage in their living rooms or houses washed away. Also, young people from so many countries anxious about their future, despairing about climate injustice on a regional and an inter-generational level.

I am hoping that Greta Thunberg will not be proven right, that this will indeed be more than “blah, blah, blah”. I am a believer in the power of bringing people together to solve problems and find solutions. I remain hopeful that countries and business leaders will leap over that hurdle to better, safer ground! I hope that they will grasp the win-wins involved in creating change. Saturday’s march in London showed the desire for action.

Maya de Souza shows the connection between investment and climate change.

Maya de Souza believes in the power of bringing people together to solve problems - Credit: Archant

From the discussions to date, what is most encouraging to me is the Forestry, Agriculture and Trade Dialogue – the FACT Dialogue - part of a wider set of measures to tackle deforestation. It is focused on land and how we use it – looking at both mitigation and adaptation benefits. It addresses the challenge from the perspective of safeguarding and regenerating the natural resources we depend on – soil and water to grow food, water to drink - whilst also enhancing the livelihoods of those who live a precarious existence.

To refocus and zoom into action closer to home, once again we see the power of coming together. Just last Wednesday, Camden Council with Think & Do led a workshop for schools to launch a Schools Charter. Backed by Cllr Angela Mason, the attendees – head teachers, teachers and other staff – generated a powerful set of commitments.

There is clearly a willingness to act locally and hopefully we will see that same determination at the COP in Glasgow. I’d like to see Greta proven wrong on this occasion!

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Maya de Souza is an environmental campaigner and chair of the Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum.