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A voice of optimism for COP26

Younity blog | Nov 2021

Glasgow Science Centre

Tom Hoines,

Managing Director, Younity

An inspirational day of throat clearing ahead of what we’re all hoping will be a landmark fortnight in Glasgow. There have been clear calls to action from world leaders outlining what needs to be achieved over the coming weeks and there is no doubt that the pressure is piling on, from within and without the conference.

While the rallying cries tend to focus on the same stats, figures, desired outcomes and urgency of action, the tonal shift between the speakers is noticeable.

We’ve just posted a blog about eco-anxiety, and if you haven’t seen WIRED’s piece on ‘Stop Telling Kids They’ll Die From Climate Change’ then I’d encourage you to take a look here. We know that climate change is the most important issue facing mankind, and the Doomsday Clock may be showing one minute to midnight (thanks, Boris), but I think action is always better driven through optimism.

Of course, if you want a voice for optimism, who better than Sir David Attenborough:

“If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it.”

My hope for the coming weeks is for rallying cries rather than finger wagging. Not just for world leaders but for world citizens. A missing piece of the narrative from the last couple of weeks is the real impact a move to net zero will have on individuals. To achieve the targets being set at COP we of course need the commitment and ambition of world leaders; but all of our lifestyles will have to change. We all need to act.

Community Energy is a vehicle for that action. It is the perfect antidote to the paralysis of ‘what can I do?’ and instead provide real, tangible frameworks for communities to have an impact.

Several world leaders have thanked young campaigners for their efforts in raising awareness of climate change and applying pressure to those in power to stand up and be counted. Community Energy needs to harness the passion of those young people and empower them to make a difference.

Already at COP, young faces have been used to embed in all of us the reality of climate change and how it is impacting communities across the world now, let alone what could be in the future – again I turn to Sir David:

"Perhaps the fact that the people who will be most affected by climate change are no longer some imagined future, but young people who are alive today - perhaps that will give us the impetus we need to rewrite our story"

If we can harness the passion of youth campaigners and activists in mobilising Community Energy, then they can become the faces of a movement making a real difference and not just the faces crying out for help.