23rd September 2021. This online meetup brought together people from the Green Tease network and Green Arts Initiative to discuss COP26: What’s going on? In the negotiations, in the cultural sector and on the streets.
COP26 is the 26th annual ‘Conference of the Parties’ to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It will be held in Glasgow, at the SEC, in November 2021. For those interested in the roles that arts and culture can have in developing climate action, this represents a major opportunity to step up our efforts. This event featured a range of speakers as well as time in breakout rooms to focus in on more specific themes. This event was held as part of Climate Fringe week.
A video of our speakers is available here and below you can find a summary of what they discussed.
Kat Jones, COP26 Lead at Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, discussed the focus of this COP summit, and what they hope will (or will not) be included in any ‘Glasgow Agreement’. The big issues include raising the funds for climate policies, paying for loss and damage caused by climate change, and stepping up the ambition of the emissions cuts that countries are pledging.
She discussed the structure of the negotiations themselves and the issues with access and participation that these throw up and outlined their focus on finding ways for people to get involved outside of the formal space. She encouraged everyone to make use of the Climate Fringe website, which lists COP26-related events both within and outwith the formal space and highlighted some ways that attendees could help support plans around COP26:
- They are looking for 100,000 Scottish people to send a message to leaders at COP26
- They are looking for venues to host events, provide space for visiting climate campaigners, and to showcase art
- They are gathering a list of arts and culture plans for COP26
- They are in search of places for visitors to the city to stay and are encouraging people to offer any spare beds as part of the homestay network
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Meray Diner discussed the 1.5 Degrees Films Climate Challenge being run by Film Access Scotland. The project invites people to make 90-second films to share their thoughts and ideas about climate change and how it is affecting us as individuals, our surroundings, families and communities. For groups based in Scotland they are offering free online workshops in filmmaking as part of the process. They are planning on showing some of the films at events during COP26 as well as future screenings around Scotland in the following months.
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Elizabeth Freestone discussed her book 100 Plays to Save the World, which is being published ahead of COP26. The book aims to provide a resource for theatremakers who are looking to explore climate issues through their work. It highlights a mixture of explicitly climate-focused plays alongside with older players that can be used as a way to engage with climate change if contextualised in the right way. Her message was to stop searching for the one great climate change play and to work with the fantastic things that are already available.
Graham Hogg discussed the After the Pandemic project, which was organising an alternative community-led space in Glasgow during COP26. Unfortunately this space has not been able to go ahead but his contribution still usefully emphasised the importance of actively involving local residents in planning around COP26 and creating spaces to allow people to participate in the moment, given that the negotiations themselves are not open to everyone. Their work also continues in many other ways.
Fadzai Mwakutuya discussed her artivist project Climate Change Creative, which is bringing the work of creatives abroad to demonstrations around COP26, and the group Culture for Climate. She discussed the importance of using COP26 as an opportunity to develop international solidarity and showcased Climate Change Creative as one example of this through allowing international artists’ work to be brought to COP26 when they cannot make it in person themselves. The Culture for Climate group has also been developing recommendations for how the cultural sector can engage with climate justice, which are available on the Creative Carbon Scotland website.
Breakout room discussions
Each breakout room focused on a different theme suggested by attendees. These themes were:
- What will COP26 and future climate policy mean for rural culture and cultural organisations?
- How do we motivate artists to engage past COP26 and make their practice sustainable as part of their journey and not their end point?
- What makes for meaningful public engagement with climate change? And how do we measure and communicate success?
- What can creative people do to connect people to the climate and ecological crises?
- What can individuals do to make our practice more sustainable?
- Planning for activity in Glasgow during the COP26 period
- How can people or organisations based in Scotland effectively collaborate for COP26 with those based abroad?
Image credit: “Armadillo” by Alan Weir is licensed under CC BY 2.0
About Green Tease
The Green Tease events series and network is a project organised by Creative Carbon Scotland, bringing together people from arts and environmental backgrounds to discuss, share expertise, and collaborate. Green Tease forms part of our culture/SHIFT programme.
About the Green Arts Initiative
The Green Arts Initiative is a networked community of cultural organisations in Scotland committed to reducing their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable Scotland
Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.
In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.
We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.
Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:
Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.
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