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Climate campaign aims to influence world leaders at COP26 talks in Glasgow

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PEOPLE in Scotland are being urged to show they want “strong and meaningful” action to tackle the climate emergency by adding their voice to a new campaign to influence the global summit COP26 in Glasgow.

Climate Scotland – which includes RSPB Scotland, Christian Aid and National Trust for Scotland – is aiming to display messages from thousands of people at November’s talks, showing they want action to protect things they love and create a better future for everyone.

Individuals visiting the Climate Scotland website can add their voice to the campaign by selecting a topic that is most of interest to them and adding a comment to say why.

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Climate Scotland is a sister campaign to another running in Wales, Climate Cymru, which together, will represent voices from two of the four UK nations and their devolved governments.

It aims to collect 10,000 messages and share them at the COP26 talks, either at the Green Zone, an official UK Government space, or another high-profile venue, and will give everyone the chance to show world leaders how much they care about the climate and nature.

More than 20 charities, civil society groups and non-profit organisations have already signed up as campaign partners.

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Becky Kenton-Lake, coalition coordinator at Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), who is supporting the campaign, said: “The climate emergency threatens our communities, the Scottish nature we know and love, and our prospects for a healthier and fairer future.

“It’s happening now, and it’s particularly affecting those around the world who have done the least to cause it.

“In November, the eyes of the world will turn to Glasgow as world leaders gather for the COP26 UN climate summit. This gives us a unique opportunity to shape global action and help achieve a fair outcome for communities around the world. Through the Climate Scotland campaign, we can show our leaders just how much we care.”

Amongst those backing the campaign is South Seeds, a community-led organisation based in Glasgow’s Southside, which supports residents to lead more sustainable lives.

Its general manager, Lucy Gillie, said: “People around the world need to transform their lives to avoid climate chaos.

“Here in Glasgow, homes need to be heated with clean energy, active travel needs to become easier, and we all need to eat more seasonal produce.

“To achieve this in such a short amount of time, action needs to start now – not just at policy level but on the ground where we need it. If communities can be enabled to start making these transformations, we are more likely to achieve net-zero in time.”

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Aedán Smith, head of policy and advocacy for nature conservation charity RSPB Scotland, said: “This last incredibly difficult year has shown us how much we need nature. And now nature needs us to take strong and lasting action to restore and protect it.

“When we help nature to thrive, we help ourselves to thrive.

“The nature and climate emergency puts one in nine species in Scotland at risk of extinction. We must address this by protecting and restoring nature, increasing access to nature for everyone and making decisions that support nature, our climate and people.”

Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, added: “Climate change is having a devastating impact on every area of life in the countries in which Christian Aid works – from basic needs such as food and shelter, to issues such as education and women’s rights.

“The pervasive impact on everyone – and particularly those in the communities in which we work – means the world can no longer ignore it. The coronavirus pandemic has served to exacerbate already-existing issues for the world’s most vulnerable communities, many of whom are on the frontline of the climate crisis.”

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