What does climate change mean to you?
In November, Glasgow will host an event critical to the future of our planet. An expected 30,000 delegates from around the world will attend COP 26, the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties, here in our Dear Green Place.
The goal? Reach an agreement on what every country in the world will do to tackle climate change. But, what does climate change mean to you?
Change starts at home
The outcome of COP26 will affect all of us for years to come. But we shouldn’t leave climate change conversations to 30,000 people at the conference.
In Glasgow this summer we had heat waves and flooding just weeks apart. Meanwhile, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlighted that the world will probably get 1.5 degrees hotter within the next two decades, with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Climate change is having an effect on the streets of Glasgow as well as in the atmosphere around our planet. What can we do individually to help our city and the planet?
Climate Cafe conversations
This month, Glasgow Science Centre has been working with local community groups to explore what climate change means to them.
We hosted a series of digital events as part of our Climate Café programme. We brought communities together to engage in conversations that mattered to them, all focused on climate change and climate science.
The conversations brought home that climate change will affect every aspect of our life: how we produce food, how we get from place to place, how we heat and power our homes.
We worked with Glasgow Disability Alliance, Govan Community Project and groups like Gilded Lily and Local Women of the World to host the Climate Cafes. The idea was to provide opportunities to learn about climate science, understand why it’s relevant and identify any barriers that local groups might have to having their voices heard.
These conversations are part of a UK-wide project led by the Association for Science and Discovery Centres in collaboration with the Inspiring Science Fund, a partnership between UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome.
What does your 2040 look like?
One of the Climate Change Cafe events was a screening of the film 2040, which explores how the planet could look if we start making changes today. Instead of focusing on the doom and gloom of climate change, the film looks for solutions.
Glasgow Science Centre takes a similar approach! How can science help us solve climate change?
Greener transport could make a difference. Glasgow already has a fleet of electric buses, an extensive train network and vehicle charging points are popping up across the city. One participant suggested more people should train as rickshaw drivers, so people can have petrol-free short journeys in the city centre. Engineers around the world are also trying to develop battery powered planes to take us on holiday. So, there we have a local action and an international one!
Greener food could help too, and one possible solution is vertical farms. These farms can be in abandoned warehouses, shipping containers, old office blocks that aren’t in use or even underground. They use less water and electricity, and Scotland already has some installed.
Eating insects is also about to become a really good way to save the planet while you snack. They’re much more carbon friendly than the creatures we traditionally eat, and we’ve heard they’re quite crunchy and delicious.
Keep talking about climate change
While the biggest changes to address climate change will be made by policy makers and governments at COP26, we can all contribute and do our part. Find out what’s happening in your local area and ask your local councillor what they are doing to tackle climate change on your patch.
Glasgow Science Centre will keep talking about climate change and about the actions, innovations and feats of engineering that will help us tackle its impacts.
We’ve been running Our World, Our Impact since last year, which has been working with communities around the city and beyond. We’ve been providing educational materials about climate change and hopefully inspiring people on climate science and what can be done.
Check out the Our World, Our Impact section on our website to find out how you can get involved and what’s happening between now and COP 26 in November.
This article is adapted from one written by Glasgow Science Centre's Harriet Rafferty for Glasgow Times.