Reflections from COP26

Reflections from COP26

16 December 2021 by Enid Barron in Climate Change.

Enid Barron, LLM at St Stephen’s Ealing and champion of Eco Church, tells us about her experience of COP26.

November 11th 2021 marked a high point in my decades of eco involvement: I had a day at COP26. I was one of four people representing Act for Ealing, the faith representative in its small steering group.

Act for Ealing is a recent initiative drawing together voluntary groups, operating within the Borough, which have an environmental focus. We aim to help these groups spread the climate action message to the grass roots, providing a digital hub for exchanging information, fostering connections and giving practical advice on how individuals can make a difference. Our activities are expanding as we engage with school and business and initiate events. I am learning a lot working in a secular group and I hope I am passing on some useful insights from environmental work within the church.

We were allocated a small ‘one day’ stand in the ‘green zone’ at Glasgow. The stand provided included a screen. Team members had produced engaging digital information to make full use of this. We also displayed printed material on our 2m by 2m walls including a time line, photographs of local action and a map showing the locations of our partner organisations. Visitors were invited to play an interactive game and contribute their views via a Mentimeter.

From opening time at 8.30am we were overwhelmed with visitors. Many were impressed with what we were doing to engage with ordinary citizens. Some thought they would try to replicate our model, not just within the UK or the local government structure. While we seemed to inspire others we in turn were inspired by the commitment and forward thinking of people we spoke to from a huge range of backgrounds including the technical companies, the energy sector, construction industry, medicine, investment management and academia.

Suddenly it was 5.30pm, time to start packing up to leave our green bubble. We were exhausted but euphoric.

I have two regrets:

  • physical distance meant we had virtually no contact with delegates involved in the political negotiations;
  • lack of time to visit other displays and listen to talks.

This apart my Glasgow experience was exhilarating and energising. I talked with people from such a wide spectrum of interests and countries; all of them far sighted and keen to take positive action. I came away with a more optimistic view than would have been the case had I only listened to reports from the formal negotiations. The issues are too important to be left just to politicians. Over the last couple of years I have sensed that in society at large (including in the Church of England) there is a recognition that all have a part to play in averting climate disaster. My day at COP26 made me believe that others share this view and moreover are determined to make a positive difference.

If you’ve been inspired by Enid’s story, or any of the news you’ve heard from COP26, to take action on climate change, then find out how to register as an A Rocha Eco Church, consider joining the Youth Christian Climate Network, or take a look at our Diocese of London Environment and Sustainability pages for more resources and ideas.

Enid Barron

Enid Barron

Enid is a Licensed Lay Minister at St Stephen's Church, Ealing and is a member of the General Synod. Enid is a particular champion of Eco Church, of which St Stephen's has a Silver Award, and is a member of the environmental community group Act for Ealing.

View all posts by Enid Barron

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