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Dear Green Place

No doubt you've heard Glasgow referred to as the Dear Green Place more often that usual over the last week, and it is set to continue until next weekend, when COP26 will finally draw to a close. I don't think anyone in the UK, but particularly those of us in Scotland, have been able to escape the fact that people from all over the globe have been gathering in the city for the twenty sixth Conference of the Parties - more usefully known as the UN Climate Change Conference and billed as "the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control."

With my colleagues at VASLan and VANL we have been lucky enough to host a film viewing and discussion with the Take One Action film festival. The film we've been showing has been Thank you for the Rain, a moving portrait of resilience as Kisilu, a Kenyan farmer uses his camera to capture the daily life of his family, his village and the direct impacts of climate change, including his attempts to make a difference. I like to think that I am fairly clued up about climate change, that I do my best to limit my impact on the planet. As I sat down to watch the film, I was feeling quite smug that I was watching a film as part of my job. Within 15 minutes I was in tears. However much you think you know, however many times you've read about it, or even seen it on the news, the reality of how climate change is already affecting people is a shock every time. People's lives are being devastated by extreme weather. People who already have - materially - so much less than us. Sure my roof has been leaking a bit in the crazy rain we've been having lately, but it's still attached to my house. That isn't the case in the film. The film follows Kisilu to Paris to speak at COP21 and his faith that the world leaders will do the right thing is heartening, until that moment when it becomes clear that they really won't.

I'm not here to preach to you about climate change though. I'm here to point you in the direction of resources that I have found helpful in trying to learn more.

  • Learn about Climate Justice with this easy to understand video made by Climate Ready Schools.

  • Listen to David Attenborough's speech at COP26.

  • Sign up for this event with The Resurgence Trust and the Network of Wellbeing, bringing stories of hope and resilience.

  • Check out all the other events that are on during the People's Summit for Climate Justice.

  • For a lighter look at the issues, you can watch climate change researcher and comedian Dr Matt Winning talk about his book Hot Mess as part of Book Week Scotland.

  • Join the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice - more info here.

  • If you want to go deeper check out the Keep Scotland Beautiful Climate Emergency online training.

The last thing you can do is take time to connect with nature, get active and make a difference in your local community. There are plenty of groups across Lanarkshire working to make a real difference and you can join them, from the litter pickers in East Kilbride to the Northern Corridor Conservation Volunteers; contact us to find out more.

I'll leave you with Kisilu's final words in the film:

"If you know anything good and you don't do it, the whole world will blame you on that. To avoid being blamed I'll try my level best to do it."

Let's all try our level best.

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