Nov 5th Reflection By Barb Thees
In addition to the official COP26 events happening within the Blue and Green Zones of the Scottish Event Center, there are a multitude of related events happening around town in conjunction with the conference. They involve everything from lectures to hosted at local NGOs, museums and other arts and cultural centers, faith centers, breweries, and restaurants, as well as open spaces around the city center.
One of the events in particular that a number of participants from the University of Minnesota had enjoyed over the course of week 1 has been The Times Earth Hub. They have created a base for the week at a local restaurant, hosting events for COP26 attendees and their local newspaper subscribers each morning and evening.
Their morning sessions, Breakfast Briefings, involve reporters from The Times discussing key points from the precious days’ COP26 proceedings with guest journalists and foreign correspondents. I’ve found this to be a great base from which to begin each day while also fueling up for the day ahead on the coffee and snacks provided. And after lamenting that we would miss this climate change news briefing on a regular basis, a number of us UMN students have got our gears moving on ideas for how we can bring this format back to the university to continue the climate change conversation!
Their evening events have also been a great way to wind down the day with an informal panel discussion and refreshments followed by a social hour. The panel discussions have highlighted a range of topics and their intersection with climate change, from environmental equity between the global north and south to the power of sport to drive behavioral change needed to fight climate change to the ocean’s role in mitigating climate change. Our delegates had an opportunity to connect with some of the international panelists after these sessions, and many of us have commented on how having this chance to learn about climate action from experts on a number of different angles outside of our fields of work and study in such an intimate setting has been a really rich experience.
These side events have done a great job of fostering engagement around climate change topics in a format that encourages interdisciplinary connection and creates a space for rich follow-up conversation. Not only has it been extremely enjoyable to participate, but it has also served as a great example of how we might engage our community around the topic back home in Minnesota.
Yesterday’s Global Day of Action for Climate Justice was so powerful! We saw people of all ages, representing countries and indigenous groups from around the world, with bagpipes and drums and giant puppets demanding action from leaders and business and standing in solidarity with those most impacted by the effects of climate change. And Glasgow’s 100,000-strong march was only one of over 100 others happening from Kenya to Australia to Brazil. Unity and collective action at its best! #cop26 #cop26glasgow