COP26 has come to a close and it's what happens now that's important. For this article, we spoke to our CEO, Sarah Kessell, for an overview of the summit and how The Wildlife Trusts were involved. Sarah also discusses what the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales are doing to take action for nature, climate and people, with the launch of our new strategy.
During COP26, the Wildlife Trusts kept members updated with an excellent daily broadcast on Twitter (@wildlifetrusts) from Craig Bennett and colleagues.
Overall, the conference made baby steps when giant leaps were needed. The UK Government is amongst those who have failed to act on their rhetoric by continuing to subsidise oil and gas exploration, failing to ban new coal mines and cutting foreign aid.
We believe that net zero should not be the destination, but a waymark point to restore nature.
Healthy habitats will draw down carbon from the atmosphere and help to repair the climate at the same time as restoring nature.
Despite our frustrations, we saw examples of amazing leadership from local communities and individuals. Young people spoke with eloquent passion, holding governments to account and people across the world were more aligned than ever before on the urgency of tackling the issues facing us all. The momentum to make positive change happen faster will be driven by the public, and that is something to feel hopeful about.
In a Guardian article reviewing COP26, George Monbiot mentions research that proves social change can happen when the committed minority taking action reaches 25% per cent of the population.
The tipping point leading to large-scale and radical change is driven by relatively few, committed people. This research lies behind our own target for 1 in 4 people taking positive action for wildlife.
If together we can achieve 30% of land and sea in Wales being managed positively for wildlife, then restoring nature and the climate becomes a real possibility.
We have made a start through projects like our Stand4Nature youth project and we are now developing ‘Team Wilder’, a way to reach, mobilise and support many more communities in taking action for wildlife in their local area.
Keep an eye on our website over the next few months for more information on how you can become part of Team Wilder.
-- Sarah Kessell, CEO of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales