From 31st October to 12th November 2021, the 26th “Conference of the Parties” is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. The purpose of the conference is to unite the world to tackle climate change and accelerate the actions towards the goal of the Paris Agreement 2015 and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The World leaders, representatives of NGOs as well as the press and media are invited to this conference.
This article includes summaries of the speeches delivered at the opening ceremony on October 31st by Class 11 and personal comments by Class 8.
Female British writer Yrsa Ward opens with an “intervention” for COP26
“The truth will not leave without you”, was one of the most impactful verses of the opening ceremony of COP26. These words were said by the british writer and poet Yrsa Ward, who was the first speaker at the opening ceremony.
In her poem she speaks about the fact that the world and its climate is worsening and that the future is in our hands. She says, that “nothing will be saved without you”. By you, Yrsa means humanity. The world can’t be saved if we don’t put in the effort. The writer also focuses on the event, saying it is an “invitation” to change the world and an “intervention” for the future generations. Miss Ward believes that the change has to be done as soon as possible, by saying; “anything later than now, is too little, to late”. She’s also certain, that we “owe our home” and that it’s time to “pay our home dues”.
Yrsa Wards refers to humans, as “creators of the possible future” and “the truth will not leave without you”.
by Valerio, Class 11
David Attenborough urges us to “rewrite our story”
“In my lifetime, I have witnessed a terrible recovery. In your lifetime, you could and should witness a great recovery”, said the broadcaster, natural historian and author David Attenborough, one of the speakers in this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), that took place in Glasgow, Scottland. He focused his remarks on the concentration of carbon in our atmosphere, referring to the changes in the number as “the clearest way to chart our own story”. He showed the drastic changes in carbon concentration over the years, how the number stabilised over 10000 years ago, civilisation was possible and humans decided to take advantage.
He further referred to climate change as “a story of inequality and instability” because the burning of fossil fuels, the development of the industry and constant carbon emissions led to the stability of the climate 10000 years ago, breaking. Attenborough reminded that not only future generations are going to suffer, but also the current youth.
He called out to the nations of the world to use sustainable interventions and nature as a key ally and to work together and use this as a further opportunity to make a more equal world. “Perhaps the fact that the people most affected by climate change are no longer some imagined future generation but young people alive today — perhaps that will give us the impetus we need to rewrite our story,” Attenborough said.
Closing speech by young Kenyan environmentalist
“Please open your hearts”. That was a repeated phrase in 26-year-old Keynan environmentalist Elizabeth Wathuti’s speech at the Glasgow Climate Change Conference.
She reported on how 2 million Kenyans would face climate related starvation, because two rainy seasons failed, rivers are running dry and harvests are failing. By 2025, 50% of the world’s population would face water scarcity and in 25 years climate crisis would have displaced 86. Mio people in sub-Saharan Africa, she said.
But only 0.5% of historical emissions would be released by sub-Saharan African people. And the children, who would need to bear the effects are not responsible at all.
Her appeal: We shall nor leave our children on words and promises but action.
“We are in roughly the same position, my fellow global leaders, as James Bond today” says Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister
In his speech, Mr. Johnson compares the world to that of a James Bond movie. He says that the world is the doomsday device, and the world leaders are James Bond. Boris Johnson mentions in his speech that we are covering the world in a CO2 blanket. He also says that the longer we take to act, the worse the impact will be. He says that the anger of people will be massive if we do not get serious, and that we have the technology to help stop this problem. In his opinion, governments must solve this issue together as government spending alone won’t succeed. Finally, he states that since we have the money and technology, we can’t fail. And these next two weeks must mark the beginning of climate change. It will be a challenging job; however, we can do it, he said.
“Stop treating nature as a toilet”
These were the words of the concerned UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in the UN’s climate change conference COP26. Apart from that he says we are addicted to carbon consumption and that enough is enough. He explains that we can’t afford to stop until coal is phased out of our activities and carbon is priced.
In his speech the Secretary General outlined the need for all countries to have maximum ambition to fight climate change. He criticises the lack of change, reporting that the last six years since the Paris climate agreement was signed, have been the hottest 6 years in human history. As a solution to the problem of a deficit of credibility Guterres announced the creation of a group of experts dedicated to creating clear and realistic standards to measure and analyse net 0 commitments. He emphasizes that in order to achieve these goals, 1st world countries must support developing countries, firstly by helping to fight COVID-19 and also by giving development aids and funds.
Lastly, he says that we must listen, act and choose wisely and that we must all be ambitious and act in solidarity, in order to safeguard our future.
Samoan Brianna Fruean says her country ‘won’t be the last’ to drown
Brianna Fruean (born 18 May 1998) is an activist and environmental advocate for Samoa; She represented Samoa and the small islands of the Pacific at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop26), making a short speech in which she reveals the activist’s will and concern for the future of her home and in general of the entire planet. What the activist tried to say throughout her speech were 2 essential things, which come together to make a clear call for help, a sensible and sincere goal. This call claims and informs the situation of the islands in the Pacific, such as SAMOA and other small islands in the region, which are experiencing climate change to the limit, since it is assumed that with the rising waters, these islands will be vulnerable and exposed to a major catastrophe; “My country won’t be the last to drown”. “You wield the weapons that can save us or sell us out for profit and power.”; Brianna’s call for help and attention for all the leaders of the world, saying and acclaiming that the leaders of the world who are present at COP26 in Glasgow, have the power and the duty to save the entire planet.
“2 degrees is a death sentence for island nations“
Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, called on the leaders of the world to act together saying that national solutions to global problems dont work. She added that greed and self-interest will not succeed in the face of the climate crisis but will rather “sow the seeds of our common destruction”.
Leading one of the countries most affected by climate change, she appealed to the leaders of rich countries to open their hearts and consider the human cost of climate change. Failure to act would be “measured in lives”.
Her excellency urged world leaders repeatedly to let down the people that depend on them. She added that it is a lack of will and not a lack of resources that are the cause of the little progress made so far.
Selected comments on the opening ceremony speeches by Class 8
I found the speeches extremely inspiring. The speech of David Attenborough I found it perfect and it really inspires me and makes me so much more aware! Elizabeth Wathuti was really talking about how it is here and most people I think didn’t know that! Although the speeches were pretty long it wasn’t boring which I found really impressive.
“The day is dimming but it’s still not dawn” said Yrsa Daley–Ward in her poem. We have time but only enough to start making a change NOW for a better tomorrow. If we start any later there may not BE a tomorrow. So we need to do what we can to ensure a happy life for our children and their children and so on for generations to come.
I loved watching, listening, and admiring all the motivational speeches. I was so captivated from the inspirational quotes. All the devastating videos showing climate change consequences it was all so engaging. I really appreciated the fact that this conference wasn’t just based on the US or Europe. They included everyone and were thoughtful of everyone life stories. Whether black, white, Christian, Muslim, high or low income, heritage, schooling etc. And all talks were amazing. I was especially attached to David Attenborough. He basically said he will not here to see it, but we will. He incorporated these following quotes, which will forever be one of my favourite quotes ever to be said:
“Is this how our story is due to end”,
“We are already in trouble”,
“Our motivation should not be fear but hope” and
“Is why the world is looking to YOU and why YOU are here”
There are so many other well-said quotes which I love as well, however David Attenborough spoke and vocalized them the best. I really value the conference since society can think of the bigger picture of our dying world and be motivated and inspired to do good.
So, thank you, Cop26!
I personally really enjoyed David Attenborough speech, because it really had a strong meaning. “Working together, we are powerful enough to save it” he is giving us motivation and strength to fight through and save our planet. In this generation we can and should watch the world rebuilt itself. The world is looking at us and asking us for help. We need to start realizing what we are doing to OUR world! This speech should inspire us all and make us make a move to save our mother earth.
I loved activist and environmental advocate Samoa Brianna Fruean‘s speech, because it was very inspiring and motivational. I especially liked the quote “We‘re not drowning, we are fighting!‘‘ It’s about showing that the Pacific Island communities have been living sustainably off the land for generations, and that they are now among the first people to be affected by climate change. In Samoa in her culture there is a proverb that goes: “E pala le ma‘a, a e le pala le upu‘‘ ~ Even Stones decay, but words remain ~