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Findhorn Foundation among Moray voices at COP26 UN climate change summit

By Lorna Thompson

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MORAY's long-standing eco-community, the Findhorn Foundation, will be among local voices joining the global COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow later this week.

Representatives will have a Green Zone presence on the final day of COP26, Friday, November 12, as part of the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network.

The foundation, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, will be spreading the message about its various green initiatives, such as its car share pool, organic gardens, "Ekos" community currency and eco-village.

Its eco-village was designated UN-Habitat Best Practice as a model for holistic and sustainable living as far back as 1998 – and again 20 years later in 2018.

Moray Council's climate change team, politicians, non-governmental organisation (NGO) figures and local Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists are among those at COP26 where leaders are debating the world's environmental policies and ways to halt the ecological crisis.

A large group of climate activists from XR Forres and XR Highlands were among around 100,000 people who took part in the Climate Justice March on Saturday, November 6.

UN negotiations are taking place within the Blue Zone at the SEC, while the Glasgow Science Centre has become the Green Zone, where the public can join events, workshops, talks and exhibitions.

Janet Limb, the Findhorn Foundation's PR lead, believes the eco-community's presence is recognition of how its values have been accepted by the mainstream.

She said: "Some people used to laugh at us, but I think the world has caught up now.

"People are beginning to realise that society can't continue as it has been.

"Covid and lockdown marked a large upturn in public interest about what it's like to live in a community.

"That interest from the public has now increased even further thanks to COP26."

The Findhorn Foundation will have a Green Zone presence at COP26 this week. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
The Findhorn Foundation will have a Green Zone presence at COP26 this week. Picture: Becky Saunderson.

Meanwhile, a former City solicitor turned legal activist, Lisa Mead, has been an observer in the Blue Zone representing an NGO, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN).

She was one of a panel of expert judges at an event last week which heard details of two major ecological struggles facing the planet.

A co-convener of Moray Greens and an XR Forres member, Lisa said: "On November 3-4 we held a people's tribunal for Nature's Rights, looking at false solutions to climate change and also the destruction of the Amazon."

A press conference was held in the UN Blue Zone on the outcome of these tribunals on Friday, November 5.

Lisa said: "Our main message at COP26 is that we also have an ecological crisis, with ongoing loss of species and habitats, so any solutions to climate change must take this into account, and not threaten biodiversity and the health of our planet still further.

"We have to be exceptionally careful what we sign up to in terms of climate change 'solutions' – because some of these proposals have hugely negative impacts on the living world and we cannot afford yet more damage to biodiversity and ecosystems."

She added: "Various forms of geo-engineering, involving solar radiation management and weather modification, are currently being studied and trialled. These will have as yet unknown long-term impacts on life on Earth.

"Another example of a false solution to climate change is hydro-electric dams, which are currently being touted as renewable energy solutions all over Eastern Europe. In many cases these relatively small dams are unnecessary in terms of providing energy to people, and are simply filling the pockets of the already wealthy, even attracting EU subsidies. These dams are destroying pristine river systems and the life that they support.

"Meanwhile, so-called 'clean coal' and 'carbon capture and storage' are fairy-tale solutions. They offer very little in terms of actual removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and merely serve to support business-as-usual for massively polluting fossil fuel industries, rather than actually tackling climate change.

"GARN's position is that there are many solutions to climate change that could enable us to stay below 1.5°C of global warming if adequate investment was channelled that way, rather than into these massive techno-fixes being proposed by big business. For example, carbon capture through regenerative agricultural practices that create healthy living soil is a real solution to climate change."

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