Exhibiting At #COP26 Glasgow 2021

Standing Up For Nature

“There could not be a more important moment…”

Sir David Attenborough

For as long as I can remember I have felt a deep and unyielding connection to nature. As the years have passed my pure joy and admiration of our natural world has increasingly been tinged by concern. Concern for the degradation it suffers at the hands of supposed progress. Much of the passion behind sharing my wildlife photography, film and now nature inspired art has always flowed from a simple desire to inspire others to reconnect with the extraordinary beauty and incredible complexity of nature.

To capture and portray the spirit of those animals I have had the privilege to photograph and to encourage others to stand up for nature against the relentless thirst for progress at all costs. 

It is a huge honour to have had my image of a critically endangered mountain gorilla: “WakaWaka” selected by the UK cabinet office organisers to be displayed at the main meeting venue of COP26 in Glasgow as part of the Explorers Against Extinction display.

Having the opportunity to fulfil my deepest desire for my art on this world stage is something I am incredibly grateful for. I very much hope that it will inspire the individuals who have the chance to make decisions over the next two weeks that will shape our world and the environment for the future.

It is my hope that many of them will pause long enough to look deep into the piercing eyes of this beautiful endangered young gorilla and then step up to make the hard decisions that are long overdue to protect the natural world for the future. 

It has been wonderful to support Robert and Sara of Explorers Against Extinction who have worked incredibly hard to bring this exhibition together to showcase nature’s beauty and importance on the world stage. Here’s what they had to say: “It is a huge thrill to showcase the work of our contributors on the world’s biggest stage,  and to reinforce the message of ‘Protect and Restore‘ through our art and photography collections. All 25 pieces being displayed feature endangered species or at-risk wild spaces.

We understand from the organisers that there were over 7,000 applicants for exhibition space in the Blue Zone of the conference. Just 15 official photographic exhibits, including our art and photography exhibit were selected for the c30,000 delegates expected to descend on Glasgow to enjoy.

Ultimately,  we are hopeful that the conference results in decisions to make significants impacts for the future”

What is COP26?

COP26 is the 2021 edition of the United Nations annual climate change conference. COP stands for Conference of the Parties. Every year, world leaders meet to make important decisions about how humanity tackles the climate change.   The UK is hosting this year’s meeting – COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in association with Italy. 

COP26 is the biggest summit the UK has ever hosted and is the most significant climate event since COP21, the 2015 United Nations climate conference which resulted in the Paris Agreement.

Between 1990 and 2019, the UK’s economy grew by 78% while emissions fell by 44%, the fastest reduction in the G7. The Prime Minister has launched the Green Ten Point Plan – which sets the UK on the path to a greener, more prosperous future, mobilising £12 billion of government investment to create up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs and spur over £40 billion in investment from the private sector into the UK.

China, the US, EU countries and India have the highest greenhouse gas emissions,  so their commitment to tackle climate change is paramount. On the agenda will be:

  • Targets for reducing emissions including phasing out fossil fuels and switching to green energy and things like electric cars
  • Protecting carbon sinks: forests and sea grass meadows
  • Protecting people from the impacts of climate change

The Blue Zone, why is it so important?

Activity at a COP takes place in two different zones – the Blue Zone and the Green Zone.

The Blue Zone is for people registered with the UN body and tasked with coordinating the global response to the threat of climate change – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In the Blue Zone you might be part of a national delegation, work for the United Nations and related organisations & agencies or be a member of the media or a not-for-profit observer organisation.

In the Blue Zone, delegates from countries meet for both formal negotiations and informal consultations. They may also take part in meetings with other delegations to clarify their position and interests with the aim of reaching agreement or overcoming a negotiating deadlock. The UNFCCC will also host a range of events, including technical briefings, to support the negotiations process.

COP26 will be a decisive moment – climate change is a clear and present danger to all people and our planet.

The decisions made at COP26 will impact you – how you travel, what you eat and how you heat your home. There are many incredible experts, charities, NGOs that are attending COP alongside the politicians and giving lectures and presentations on the numerous options that are available to work for a better and brighter future working with rather than struggling against the natural world. Whilst I still remain dubious that we will see the necessary changes adopted by the politicians who at best can be described as cautious in their adoption or commitment to any significant policy changes. I would please encourage you to read about the conference and interact with some of the organisations attending. Whilst at times I know it feels overwhelmingly hopeless, I implore you to remember that we are not powerless. We can shape the decisions of corporations, we can work the capitalist system to change it, by remembering that companies want to make a profit, to do that they need consumers, we are their consumers. What you spend your money on, what you encourage your friends and family to spend their money on, counts. It might not feel like it does but, honestly it does. Find friends with common beliefs, band together and start standing up and supporting and creating the future you want to see. There are so many amazing charities and small business out there doing things better, but they need our support. So let’s give it to them, let’s stop waiting for the politicians and let’s just start making it happen. A single stone thrown into a pond cast ripples far beyond it’s reach – be that stone, now is the time to throw yourself into the pond and start sending out positive ripples of change into the world.

I wanted to share this powerful animation created by students all over the in collaboration for the Save Me Trust: Who Wants to Live Forever.

It’s incredibly poignant and a strong reminder of why action is needed by all of us now.

If you would like to find out more about the conference you can visit the officially website here: https://ukcop26.org/

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