Will you join me?

This was the question that Kate Sargeant, Eco Scientist, Mother, Musician, Artist, and Educator asked every day in her posts on Facebook in support of COP26.

For some people COP26 was a sham of political agendas, for others, it was a chance to make a difference. For me it was an opportunity to evaluate, ponder, and choose to be in harmony with Nature. This was supported by Kate’s Facebook posts. Without her thoughtful posts, I would have been, quite literally, lost at sea. Climate change, environmental issues, pollution, rising sea levels can be quite overwhelming and having someone say to me, you can make a difference, start here, has been very helpful. Thank you, Kate.

One of my choices following Kate’s encouraging suggestions is to keep this conversation going, to support those that want to take action now and most importantly to remind myself that I CAN make a difference however miniscule. This is one of my lengthier blogs, but it is so worth the time you take to read it.

I have shared her posts on the Together We CAN Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WhatWeCAN/

Here are all 13 of Kate Sargeant’s Facebook posts:

1st November: Pledge 1

Will you join me?

31st October marks the start of 12 days… no not of Christmas but of COP26: A bid for leaders to come together and to collaborate on what is a momentous opportunity to change the future, to eclipse the commitments to limit the rise in temperatures to below 1.5 degrees.

Make no mistake – to do it will require substantial change in what we all do and how we do it. That future is not only dependent on our governments and our business changing but for us as individuals to take responsibility for the way that we live our lives. We need to raise our game as much as those politicians and leaders – after all, we are leaders, and we often work for a company or have our own, and overall, we have the power to influence those around us whatever we do in our lives. Quoting David Attenborough “Even if we didn’t cause it (climate change), we have a ‘moral responsibility to do something…’.

We each have a responsibility to act now and change our actions to prevent destruction of all the nature, people and places we know and love, by adding a lens of Co2 in all that we do.

WHAT would you say to your children, to the younger generations, when they ask what you did in the ’10s and ’20s to prevent catastrophic breakdown of our planet?

WHAT IF, just 1% of the global population (that’s just c.78million people) were to make changes to their lifestyle to reduce their CO2, that it sparked a snowball effect of collective action and created a dramatic impact to protect and preserve our ecosystems?

WHAT IF, you could be a part of something that creates that legacy of change?

My Pledge #1 of 12: Carbon Miles

I pledge to reduce my purchases’ delivery miles – my food, any shopping, any online purchases, by checking where the item is being shipped from. I pledge to continue to reduce, reuse, refurbish/ recycle items and if I do need to buy something, I’ll buy local, shop with carbon neutral companies, bulk deliver items altogether and choose recyclable packaging.

Will you join me?

2nd November: Pledge 2

Will you join me?

“We have the technology and can find the finance but the question is whether we have the will”.

Even Boris Johnson’s speech writer has crystallised the very point (albeit covertly) about the desperate need for leadership and the raising of individual consciousness and awareness as the key in reversing catastrophic climate change.

What he is asking is big, huge in fact – in political terms anyway. Do governments have the guts to make not just news headlines but to make the potentially unpopular reality of how we morph from our current lives guzzling down excess of all kinds, to a simpler, cleaner, leaner way of living from the heart?

I hope so because we’ve made a real mess and it’s time for the clean-up – and not just for us to do it all again next week. Our kids will regurgitate our words right back at us: ‘You made a lot of mess; didn’t you tidy up? Didn’t you think about anyone other than yourselves?’

We need to look through the human lens of climate change – to accept that we are wholly responsible for this disrespect of nature by taking it for granted, and to acknowledge the inequality of its impacts. How can we love where we live if we leave our environment, people, and places behind?

We need to actively drop our shoulders, drop our ego, drop from our head to our heart to find ways to be radically different, radically collaborative and to be radical learners – just like our youngest little people.

My Pledge #2 of 12: To foster open, radical thinking

I pledge to be open to all the ways in which I can make changes to release the excessive burden on our environment and to help others do the same.

To take action by:

– cutting out what i don’t need (my purchases, my journeys…);

– creating ways to help our children learn and appreciate nature’s intricate patterns, systems and diversity;

– helping governments, business and communities understand the importance of nature, of climate change solutions, of early years education, and all the interconnections in stemming the flow of societies challenges;

– showing up for others, creating space for them to learn and be leaders, to be present and meet their resistance, and ask them what’s the alternative? who do you choose to be?

– actively listening and seeking intuitive wisdom and compassion to help find solutions to this challenge as we go beyond ourselves to serve others and those who are not yet born.

Will you join me?

3rd November: Pledge 3

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Pledge 3: Boycotting palm oil

COP26 Day 3 has seen a commitment from 100 countries to “halt and reverse” deforestation globally by 2030, with £14bn of public and private money on the table to help protect forests including the Amazon, tropical forests in Indonesia and the Congo.

This is significant – deforestation in South America from mostly beef and soybean production, as well as commodity driven deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia for palm oil are our most pressing problems.

But today, the headline that really stood out for me was seeing 30 investor institutions sign up to eliminating commodity-driven deforestation investments in their lending and investment portfolios by 2025. This will ricochet through the industry that it’s no longer acceptable practice.

I sense the tide is turning – it’s too risky to fund investments that push us further into collapse so this is a concrete step forward because collectively those institutions manage up to £9trillion of assets and this action could change what actually happens on the ground.

Palm oil is a particularly invasive into our homes and is said to be found in 50% of supermarket products. It’s cheap and has high yields but like other mass-produced crops, the environmental and social costs go unaccounted for. Its production destroys rainforests and biodiversity especially in Malaysia and Indonesia – my heartland.

The social impacts are laid out across society and economic gains are far from evenly distributed. Indigenous people, with hundreds of dialects, depend on Indonesia’s forests and many traditional communities have lost their land to plantations with devastating effects.

Palm oil is in almost everything and its even in disguise within long, unpronounceable chemistry-class sounding names in the ingredients small print… including biscuits, bread, ice cream, cosmetics, cleaning detergents, chocolate, soap, margarine, crisps, dishwasher detergent… the list goes on.

But demand just continues to escalate with growth expected to more than double by 2030 and triple by 2050! but perhaps that’s something we can change?

My pledge #3 of 12: Removing palm oil products from my consumer chain

I pledge to investigate exactly which of my household products might contain palm oil and remove it where possible or find an alternative.

I will take action to:

– Investigate and research what products i use that might contain any palm oil (including derivatives like words with Palm, Laur, Stear, Glyc).

– Remove products that contain palm oil completely where I can find an alternative.

– Replace any non-sustainably managed palm oil products with ones that have palm oil that is RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified.

… and even this Carex dermacare, (made by Cussons) who say they are ‘the UK’s number one hand wash brand’ has sodium lauryl sulphate (a derivative of palm oil) in it.. tut tut…it’s too easy to be fooled by the refill eco packaging to not see the disguised destructive ingredient! I’m boycotting that one now.

Will you join me?

4th November: Pledge 4

Will you join me?

Pledge 4: Ethical Banking

Money to pay for net zero needs to be mobilised and day 4 of COP26 was all about just that: financing the massive economic transformation required to move away from fossil fuels and to fund projects to support climate mitigation and adaptation.

Our market in economics terms is flawed – it has continued to operate without taking into consideration the full, true cost of the externality – of the environmental impact, and therefore not paying for the impact to our water, soils, oceans, air. For example, oil and gas companies do not include the impact of air pollution into their metrics and nor do fizzy drinks companies that use copious water factor in drought or water pollution. This is the biggest market failure and we are realising the enormous impact of ignoring the true costs as we see that imbalance on our people and planet.

It’s mainly in the hands of the big financial institutions to fix this significant flaw through moving the money away from investments in fossil fuels into low carbon and ethical investments. Today, some progress was made on that with 450 of the world’s largest banks and pension funds, with assets worth £95trillion, pledging to limit greenhouse gas emissions. However, the headline amount actually being mobilised from that total into low carbon investments is unclear and there’s no commitment for them not to invest in fossil fuel investments – so there’s still a long way to go.

But there is a growing awareness of the impact banking has in funding fossil fuel and unethical projects and their contribution to climate change in a way that is as guilty as the fossil fuel companies themselves.

Our global banks – JP Morgan, Citi, Deutsche Bank, and even more UK household names of Barclays and HSBC are continuing to fund fossil fuels, deforestation and other environmentally destructive projects.

This isn’t showing the kind of leadership we need when faced with the urgent nature of climate change and yet in particular Barclays and HSBC are continuing to turn a blind eye and hope that customers don’t realise (or care) what they are investing in.

But I would put a bet on that being more about awareness than anything else… and it might just be time to start moving our money!

Research suggests that examining where you put your money is the single most impactful thing to combat climate change and without regular money from the masses, the financial power of a bank starts to diminish and they can no longer continue their business as usual.

Move your money out of their hands – entrust it to someone that will take care of it and the planet at the same time.

Pledge #4 of 12: Switching to Ethical Banking

I pledge to move my money away from funding unethical projects by switching banks if I find my finances are funding environmentally and ethically destructive projects.

I will take action to:

– research the sustainability and ethics of UK bank accounts (and savings accounts).

– check my bank/building societies’ commitments towards no longer funding fossil fuels, deforestation, arms and weaponry, or being party to unethical tax practices.

– switch out my accounts to those committed to an ethical and sustainable future.

Will you join me?

5th November: Pledge 5

Will you join me?

Pledge 5: Switching on renewable electricity

Today COP26 was all about Coal. It’s the most carbon intensive fossil fuel and phasing it out is a key step to achieve the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. However, the stark reality is that the world has already warmed to 1.1°C! and although today saw 25 countries commit to no new coal and to phase out existing plant, that pledge didn’t include the largest coal- crunching countries: US, China, Australia and India. 20 governments including the UK, Canada and the US also promised to stop financing oil, coal and gas projects beyond their borders by the end of 2022. However, these countries are still able to finance oil, coal and gas projects within their OWN borders, so this is very much a partial solution.

Switching the demand to renewables however is transforming the global energy market and accelerating the transition to a clean economy. More demand for renewable power brings economies of scale, making renewable energy the cheaper option and a better choice for the environment and human health.

Sourcing your electricity from renewable energy is a clear way to support deployment of renewables. The current wholesale gas markets are making tariffs tricky so now may not be the most economical time to do it, but switching energy tariffs to a ‘green’ tariff is a worthwhile endeavour.

And sadly, an endeavour it is because amongst what are the green tariffs for domestic supply is an often-misleading set of indicators and details as to what source has actually produced your electricity. Whether it is genuinely from renewable energy sources or (via a loophole in the system of trading renewable energy certificates in the UK) whether it could still be coming from coal, gas and nuclear requires some digging. This so-called ‘green-washing’ is murky, confusing and complex. Sadly, it is quite an unsatisfactory side-effect of the policy and it needs work.

Meanwhile, businesses account for approximately two-thirds of the world’s end-of-use of electricity. RE100 is a global corporate leadership initiative committing the world’s most influential businesses to run on 100% renewable electricity by 2050. Companies joining RE100 make a global, public commitment to 100% renewable electricity. To achieve this goal, they must match 100% of the electricity used across their global operations with electricity produced from renewable sources – biomass (including biogas), geothermal, solar, water and wind – either sourced from the market or self-produced. Over 300 companies (examples include, Starbucks, Deloitte, PWC, Slaughter & May, Decathlon and many more familiar names) have joined and the momentum continues to grow as the initiative spreads to Europe, North America, India, China, Japan and Australia. This is a way to help mid/ large organisations step-up and show some leadership.

My pledge #5 of 12: Switching on renewable electricity

I pledge to seek the most balanced renewable electricity tariff for my domestic supply and influence the sourcing within the companies in which I work and those within my supply chain, and to keep checking the options to switch tariffs as the market changes.

I will take action to:

– research greenwashing and identify the pros and cons of the UK green tariffs available

– given the current market, calculate the most balanced tariff (with electricity from 100% renewable energy generators vs affordability) and switch across.

– influence and encourage sign up (of the large companies I work for and also organisations that are in my supply chain) to the RE100.

Is the company you work for signed up? Check it out here: https://www.there100.org/re100-members

If they’re not, send the details of RE100 to your senior manager/CEO to step up 🙂

Will you join me?

6th November: Pledge 6

Will you join me?

Pledge 6: ‘Teach the Future’

COP26 today was billed as youth day and I’ve been disappointed with the media’s lack of exposure of their stories. The mood music seems to be that those views have been locked-out of the negotiating rooms and that the conference hall isn’t the place for real change because everyone there isn’t truly listening, and so instead to take to the streets alongside Greta to strike for global climate justice. That said, the world’s first policy for a dedicated climate education in primary and secondary schools that was put forward by

Teach the Future and Mock Cop has been adopted by the Department for Education. It has also seen the pledge to introduce green energy pods installed in schools that will operate at zero carbon and begin the public sector’s decarbonisation journey. This a huge landmark achievement and I couldn’t agree with it more.

I would even go a step further and suggest that we need to bring climate or moreover nature, our environment and our practical life: of ‘how our world works’ into the Early Years Foundation Stage…into nurseries, into our homes, into our antenatal education about what is so vitally important in the parenting journey. As a mother of a 2 and 4yr old, I believe it is fundamental that our youngest minds can absorb the world around us in a way that helps them to create patterns, to appreciate the sheer diversity and the order of nature, to build their awareness and their sensory picture of the world through experience – with their eyes, ears, touch, smell, taste and the 6th sense – our awareness of one’s self in space.

From 0-6 years, children have an innate ability to absorb everything around them, continuously and indiscriminately – 24/7. Our language, our movements, our emotional state, whatever goes on in life – good and bad, and all of nature is absorbed like a sponge – and no effort is made for the child to do it (unlike an adult’s brain). For a child it is automatic and not ‘learned’. This concept of ‘the absorbent mind’ is not new thinking. It is a philosophy that has been practised extensively for over 100 years and was developed by Italian doctor and educator Maria Montessori. As an environmental and climate change scientist, as a leadership facilitator and coach, and now also continuing my journey as a Montessori educator, it only confirms to me that we need to help our littlest minds and not wait until school to spend time consciously nurturing their interest in the world around us.

By 5yrs old they have already formed 85% of their core brain structure and they/we merely build on this foundation for the rest of their/our lives. It is critical to nurture the early stages of development by following the child and their interests, their curiosity and guiding them through what are their ‘sensitive periods’ of learning. Our natural environment, our emotions and our relationships give us the primary skills for life and fuels us in a way that the built environment on its own cannot. Bringing the lens back to nature and creating the awareness of the parent/carer/teacher and child to all these things and how they work, ignites a passion inside the child to be eternally curious, and to learn about the building blocks of life and the environment in which we live – and it even starts within the womb.

My pledge #6 of 12: ‘Teach the Future’

I pledge to consciously educate children and their families about nature, climate change and the experience of the world around us.

I will take action to:

– help children understand the world with an eye to nature and to teach ways to help protect and conserve resources and our environment.

– engage with parents and families to kickstart the critical interconnection between environmental education, emotional intelligence and leadership, and early years’ experience.

Will you join me?

7th November: Pledge 7

Will you join me?

Pledge 7: Be Nature Positive

COP26 Nature Day: A new worldview is gathering pace: “nature positive.” It asks: What if we go beyond damage limitation? What if our economic activities not only minimise impact, but also enhance our ecosystems? It’s a destination. It is a foundation for good governance, long-term stable healthy societies and economies.

Net Zero is only part of the story, we need to make sure we’re also focused on protecting, managing and restoring nature, because there is no point in transitioning to a net zero economy if our vital ecosystems continue to be degraded. A nature positive approach enriches biodiversity, stores carbon, purifies water and reduces health risks. In short, a nature positive approach enhances the resilience of our planet and our societies.

Today at COP26, 95 high-profile companies from a range of sectors including Ovo Energy, GSK, Unilever, EY, ITV have

committed to becoming ‘Nature Positive’. Commitments also include supermarkets Sainsbury, M&S, Coop, Nestle who are pledging to cut their environmental impact across climate and nature-loss.

26 nations also set out new commitments to change their agricultural policies to become more sustainable and less polluting.

Ultimately, a lot of what feeds into these commitments is the need to balance our consumption – of food and drink, of our lifestyles in a way that improves our health, well-being and simultaneously that of the planet. They go hand in hand. Going vegan to a fresh, plant-based diet, cutting out or cutting down on meat, fish, dairy and chocolate will help to reduce our carbon footprint. Buying organic, using pure plant-based natural products – for example cleaning solutions, toiletries, and makeup will help stop toxins and chemicals flooding our waterways, rivers and oceans and stop our soils from being depleted. By becoming aware of our emotions and the physical toll they take on our body, and the actual cause of imbalances, we can take a stance to help prevent illness and disease rather than always seeking a prescription for drugs to solve the problem. Instead consider if natural medicines and approaches can help in first aid as much as chronic and mental health challenges working alongside medicines and health professionals.

All these aspects can create a personal nature-positive lifestyle by simultaneously improving our health, reduce rates of heart disease, balance our sugar intake, reduce obesity and create a positive feedback loop to our mind and body as well as reducing the burden on our planets’ resources.

My pledge #7 of 12: Be Nature Positive

I pledge to [continue to] create a nature-positive approach to my lifestyle.

I will take action to:

– integrate a plant-based diet and for it to dominate our families’ food intake – choosing to cut down our meat, dairy and fish consumption (and where we do consume those foods, choose organic and local produce).

– replace toxic chemicals used in our house wherever possible with natural/plant based ingredients.

– proactively explore other preventative and natural methods to address illness and disease alongside medicinal and health professionals.

Will you join me?

8th November: Pledge 8

Will you join me?

Pledge # 8: Ocean Action

Sunday is a day off for COP26 and yet I feel that Friday’s attempt to address ocean challenges didn’t get the air time it deserves; particularly because “millions of people who live along coasts or on low-lying islands cannot afford for the ocean to remain an afterthought” Anna-Marie Laura, director of climate policy at Ocean Conservancy.

And for many people who do not live by the sea, it may feel ‘out of sight out of mind’, but by not addressing the impact on our oceans we fail to address the climate emergency.

Our oceans provide us with not just food, trade, energy, and our livelihoods but a connection to our soul through our senses when we’re submerged. It is where I find myself totally immersed in the sheer diversity around me and the skin tingling experience of the underwater world that cannot be matched.

Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, and they absorb and remove around 23% of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions. They also regulate the climate by taking in more than 90% of the excess heat created by human-caused greenhouse gases.

Climate action is ocean action. The health of the ocean is key to staying with the 1.5C limit.

Along with acidification, increased temperatures have led to changes in marine ecosystem patterns with serious impacts on species diversity and distribution, and bringing social and economic consequences for humans, too – in the cities and the coasts. Protecting the marine environment and restoring key habitats – from seagrasses and mangroves to saltmarshes and coral reefs – is critical to help us tackle climate change and respond to its impacts.

So, COP26 has embraced the “30×30” target – to put 30% of the global ocean under marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2030. At present, MPAs cover about only 8% of the ocean and they are considered one of the best ways to enhance coastal ecosystems, which capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide. In total, over 100 countries now support a 30by30 target for the ocean. Indonesia being one of them – the so-called coral triangle of diversity and the location of my work to create a marine park in the Sulawesi many years ago. It’s complex and requires engagement on the ground with all the local people. It’s much easier to say on paper than it is in reality, but it’s such important work.

With the ocean as a natural carbon remover, it is essential to not turn a blind eye to what we can do. Much like our forests, it’s efficiency to store carbon dioxide won’t automatically happen if we continue our destruction unabated. We can clean up our act to help our oceans, to ultimately help ourselves.

Pledge #8 of 12: Ocean Action

I pledge to be more ocean-aware, by applying a marine-lens to my life.

I will take action to:

– reduce and remove any non-recyclable and single use plastics from within my consumer chain… including exploring exactly where (or if) i can recycle the tiny difficult items e.g., clothes tags, plastic labels, single use plastic packaging /wrappers around gifts and food, as well as medicine popper packets /medical products.

– limit the purchasing and reduce washing of microfibre fleece, polyester, nylon and acrylic so as to limit microplastics that are shed in our wash cycle (and where viable use a bag to trap the fibres and stop the fibres escaping).

– to pick up plastic and litter from the beach and the sea whenever I visit or go for a scuba dive and dispose/recycle it.

– to avoid cosmetics that contain shark squalene, and not purchase jewellery made of coral or sea turtle shell or other souvenir shells.

– to not put sunscreen on me or the children before going in the sea (making sure they have adequate sun protection instead).

– to reduce my fish /seafood consumption due to the devastation commercial fishing practices have on sea life and to buy wild/non trawled fish whenever possible.

Will you join me?

9th November: Pledge 9

Will you join me?

Pledge #9: Adapting where we live

So, Obama came to the stage and stole the show a bit (nicely said Obama) but it was still Adaptation Day at COP26… and there are huge risks to our changing climate and they are different right across the world. Working out those risks, finding options to help manage them and implementing those changes is intrinsic to how well we cope in the future. It’s about adaptation but it’s also about opportunities. There are enormous opportunities and new ways in which we can implement the most sustainable actions to stay level and even improve our quality of life.

Because the climate will keep changing through the century, and our responses change with it, adaptation should be seen, much like our own lives, as a ‘journey’, rather than a ‘destination’.

It comes down to preparations – for us all to think ahead about what our homes and communities might experience and identifying what we could do to mitigate the challenges we might face, to adapt and to see where we can create positive opportunities.

The UK currently has the most advanced climate projections in the world. And for London and southeast UK, they project that in the future it will experience:

– warmer, wetter winters, (and although very cold winters will still occur, they will become less frequent);

– hotter, drier summers in the future, with extreme weather, such as heatwaves and very heavy rainfall becoming more frequent and intense; and

– sea levels are expected to continue to rise for centuries to come.

Our homes and gardens, our parks connect together; our streets, our roads, our businesses, our schools create ways for us to engage across the space in which we all need to play a part in changing, shifting, and adapting in the face of climate change. What opportunities can you find? What if we could put the village back into the city (any city) by joining the dots on climate change mitigation and adaptation? What if we could adapt our surroundings bit by bit, house by house, neighbourhoods, businesses, offices, shops? What if there was a vision of climate resilience everywhere we went, a shared collective in the area we live and another replicated in the next area? What if we could have a mindset to stay open to ideas, to retrofit and to make wise, resilient choices, to make changes to help our own homes, as well as our neighbours and communities? Ultimately it would be very powerful for us to do something to contribute to our climate change resilience especially if/ when we’re already planning to do works.

My pledge #9 of 12: Adapting where we live

I pledge to explore ways in which I can help adapt my home and garden, and my neighbourhood to become more resilient to flooding, drought and overheating.

I will take action to:

– reduce the impact of flooding, drought and overheating by considering adaptation measures in any house diy/renovation works (including but not limited to list below…); and

– explore ways to work with others to promote ‘putting the village back in the city’ with regards to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Will you join me?

10th November: Pledge 10

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Pledge #10: Get vocal, Get brave. ACT NOW.

Today there has been gender stories from COP26. Women and children will be disproportionately affected by climate change because it is making existing problems worse. As a rule, women and girls do not have the same power, wealth or opportunity as men globally. So as climate change makes our lives more challenging, the burden falls even harder on women and girls. And, seeing as women make up the majority of the world’s poor, who are most affected by climate change, it makes me feel sad and deeply uncomfortable.

It’s not just communities in developing countries, but it is true that the conditions that women and children are experiencing in developing countries makes for the harshest situations to cope with in the face of climate change. It could be a community in a remote village in a developing country and the women and children bearing the brunt of the impact. They might walk miles to get water, or to a market to buy food or collect fuel; but as drought dries up the water source, or reduces the harvest, they need to walk further in extreme conditions, taking time away from work or school, which in turn negatively affects their health and wellbeing.

The human story in developed countries may feel less obvious, and a less visible chain of effect but it is happening to families the world over … women and children are missing out on their lives, their play, their education because of air pollution wreaking havoc with their health, and even that of their unborn child. Families experiencing premature births caused by exposure to air pollution is increasing and with heatwaves and higher temperatures predicted (all which are a direct consequence of climate change), those indirect impacts to babies, children and parents is lifechanging. In the United States alone, 3% of premature births are attributable to air pollution – that’s 16,000 babies affected by physical and mental disabilities associated with preterm birth (NYU Langone Health). The costs to the health system of prolonged stays in hospital and long term use of medication is just one (big) impact but it’s also important to consider the family impact – the mental health of the parents, the mother in particular and the life experience of that child and their future.

The climate crisis is a human crisis – no matter where we are. There are impacts and we may not even see it or know it. Continually learning about the chains of impact is important. Turning a blind eye to this and the wider dialogue is that much easier to do but how will we explain it to our children when they ask,

“So, what did you do about it when you realised?”

I joined a COP26 event this evening, #OHOP2021 which shared research by Globespan that there is a gap between the willingness and intention of people to take action vs the actual actions being taken (where people say they do a fair amount or a lot in their everyday lives). And the reason for the gap? It’s that they don’t know what to do. My 10 pledges so far could be a good place to start… pick one… see what you can do now to paint a different future.

The clock is ticking… there’s no time left, the time to ACT is NOW.

Pledge #10 of 12: Get Vocal, Get Brave. ACT NOW

I pledge to continue to use my knowledge and my voice to share experiences of how we can take action to address climate change.

I will take action to:

– to walk the talk and be honest in the reality of making changes to my personal life, particularly whilst navigating the haphazardness of children and family!

– to explore ways in which I can create avenues to engage with the dialogue and to raise awareness of taking action and responsibility, now.

– lead with courage and continue to raise the bar on reinventing our business, communities and government response to climate change.

Will you join me?

11th November: Pledge 11

Will you join me?

Pledge 11: Thoughtful Trips

Travel & transport is the topic at #COP26 today with recognition that a quarter of all carbon dioxide is released from fuel combustion. It’s a fundamentally tricky topic as there is quite a reliance on the government and industry to somehow produce the technology and infrastructure to shift to zero emissions from our transport. Admittedly there is a lot that technology and infrastructure can do to help, and for car manufacturers to do especially when passenger cars produce the highest level of transport carbon emissions. Vans, lorries and other heavy goods vehicles are an important part of the mix that need to shift their emissions too.

Today it was agreed that we will see an end to new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030 and new petrol and diesel heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sales by 2040. However, the world’s three largest car markets, the US, Germany and China, have not signed the declaration at this stage, but businesses, cities and regions in these geographies have…so there’s a long way to go on this road.

There has also been a pledge by 14 states, collectively making up for more than 40% of global aviation emissions, who have put their names to a commitment to a new decarbonisation target for alternative fuels and infrastructure. Although, it doesn’t prescribe which technologies will be used to meet the target nor does it consider capping growth, so it’s a little lack-lustre in terms of ambition.

So, what does that all mean for us and what can we do? I believe it’s not about eliminating all our journeys but to bring thoughtfulness to what we’re doing, with a Co2 lens. It’s about thinking about journeys and how we can eradicate journeys that are just short, unnecessary and could easily be replaced by walking or cycling especially where it has the ability to increase how much we exercise too.

In London, the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) has recently been extended out to the South and North Circular ring road where a fee is charged for driving the most polluting vehicles. I live within this zone and I do have a car, but our hybrid electric car means we don’t have to pay. But, if we have a vehicle, what if we rewarded ourselves with the £12.50 (equivalent ULEZ charge) for when we don’t take the vehicle and have rearranged our mode of transport to walk, cycle, bus or train? Would that make you think more about the need for those journeys and change your behaviour?

Ultimately what if we designed our travel in a way that minimised carbon whilst we explored?

Pledge #11 of 12: Thoughtful Trips

I pledge (along with Pledge #1: Carbon Miles) to bring an awareness of my journeys and to be mindful of how I can reduce my carbon emissions

I will take action to:

– make a tally of our weekly car use and eliminate car journeys that I could do without, by reorganising my time to walk (or cycle or take the train or bus);

– reward myself with £12.50/day (equivalent ULEZ charge) for car journeys avoided;

– be pragmatic in the face of a young family to do what we can as they grow, to walk and cycle more.

Will you join me?

12th November: Pledge 12

Will you join me?

Pledge #12 of 12: Nature Volunteering

Today’s topic at #COP26 was all about Cities & the Built Environment.

Cities are on the front line; they are a key contributor to climate change, and the impacts of climate change largely impact urban life. Cities are currently home to more than half of the world’s people, but by 2050, that will increase to almost 70%. Extreme weather events and rising sea levels create costly impacts on cities’ basic services, infrastructure, housing, human livelihoods and health. Cities need to brace themselves for a cumulatively challenging future.

The current climate and ecological crisis demand a radical redesign of how we live and organise our societies. Yet these urgent changes, though complex, are far from impossible. Embedded within that change is our building standards and retrofitting our current housing stock to be energy efficient, for companies operating in cities to achieve net zero carbon and be resilient too.

In my Pledge 9: ‘Adapt where I live’ I proposed the concept of ‘Putting the village back into the city’… to bring our neighbourhoods and streets and areas together by aligning on climate change mitigation and adaptation. It would be a relatively simple and beautiful way to bring benefit to all. By greening our cities with street trees, rejuvenating and creating urban parks, rooftop gardens and green spaces we can keep cool amid rising temperatures whilst simultaneously boosting biodiversity and fostering happiness and social connection in the process.

The Japanese preventative healthcare practice of Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing”, is modelled on a recognition of the many benefits of immersion in natural spaces. I know I feel my most happy and healthy when surrounded by nature. Unpacking exactly why may seem ‘out-there’, but the universality and ancient appreciation for nature gives us a reason to believe our intuitive connection.

And in recognition of that lifeline that nature provides us, it feels even more important to give something back. Not only that but research shows that shared involvement in community gardening and volunteering to help educate others, lead guided walks and by learning something new can increase social cohesion and social bonds among participants and the wider community.

I believe that wherever we live, one of the strongest contributions we can do is to nurture our green spaces, our parks, our countryside and the communities that surround them because doing so nourishes us back.

My pledge # 12 of 12: Nature Volunteering

I pledge to volunteer my time and knowledge to help our cities and green spaces thrive in the face of climate change.

I will take action to:

– volunteer at Greenwich Park by taking part in nature-focused activities, including guiding nature and health walks, help undertake nature workshops for children and habitat/species surveys, as well as gardening/horticultural work.

Will you join me?

To tie it all together on the 13th November, Kate posted

COP26 12:12 Will you join me?

Over the last 12 days, I have set 12 pledges that challenge life in a variety of ways. There is so much we can all do to address climate change and bring a global consciousness to our choices. It’s not just about governments and business doing all the work; individuals have a role to play too. If everyone can change something, then we build collective action and create a substantial shift in driving down not just carbon emissions but uphold the moral responsibility of working together with nature to rewrite our human story.

As #COP26 talks extend past their deadline, it is clear the impossible balancing act all the negotiators have been tasked with, is coming to the fore. Their work to secure 1.5 °C will create a ripple effect in to our daily lives – like it or not.

We will see a widespread shift towards electric vehicles and renewable energy, to more solar panel equipped homes and green spaces in towns and cities – in return giving us cleaner air, quieter streets and healthier lives. To do it, the deal might also impact people’s wallets as “consumers will inevitably have to absorb some of the costs to deliver on the COP26 declaration – by paying more and consuming less,” says Toby Gardner of the Stockholm Environmental Institute. But in seeking that balance, there’s a whole lot more to gain than the apocalyptic scenes that we’ll experience without addressing the challenge.

There is no alternative; we can’t continue as we are. We must Act Now.

Here’s a summary of my pledges. I’ll keep you updated as to how I get on… maybe you will too?

1) Reduce Carbon Miles

2) Foster Open Radical Thinking

3) Ditch Palm Oil

4) Give Ethical Banking Power

5) Switch On Renewables

6) Teach the Future

7) Be Nature Positive

8) Take Ocean Action

9) Adapt where we live

10) Be Vocal, Be Brave, Act Now

11) Thoughtful Trips & Journeys

12) Volunteer for Nature

Kate’s Diagram 🙂

Why bother?

Somebody asked me, why do you care, you don’t have kids, life is short, the system is corrupt, why bother? I responded, as I long as I see it as a bother, I am not going to be very helpful, my resistance is going to keep tripping me up. So, I perceive taking action in harmony with nature as necessary as brushing my teeth. As to why bother, in my experience, everything is God and everything is Good, we are ONE, and in truth, loving Nature is the same as Loving God, the same as loving each other. How can I not?

What’s really happening to the planet?

Please NOTE: I am an NOT an expert on this, I am an artist and spiritual activist that cares about humanity and everything I share is my take on things.

At this moment is time, the Earth is burdened with toxins, pollution and lack of care from human beings. The earth is doing what it can to restore balance and this could lead to the extinction of the human race. If we keep polluting the planet, we will wipe ourselves out of existence. The Earth will survive.

Will you join in loving this planet that nourishes and serves you?

It is your choice. Eddie and I are not attached to the outcome, whatever happens, Consciousness is eternal. Love is the only Reality. Death is an illusion. Life is precious. Good exists. Choice is a gift.  

That is all for now, more soon, in the meantime, sending you smiles and love, Ranjana

Ps. If you want to get in touch with Kate for a Liberating Eco-friendly Life Consultation then here is her email address: Kate@acuityhouse.com . I really recommend booking some time in with her. Together, you can discuss the most effective and effortless choices you can make for a nature positive home and life.

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