October 20, 2021

COP or COP-out? Our take on the world’s most important climate conference.


Have world leaders finally woken up to the indisputable importance of indigenous and local people living in rainforest? Below we share both our reservations and optimism as we anticipate the world's most important climate conference to date: COP26.

Better late than never?

It’s taken global leaders far too long to listen to, and include, the most important climate experts of our time in solving the climate crisis – indigenous peoples and local communities living in rainforest.

For 15 years, we have been banging the people-first conservation drum and now, the people we believe in the most are seemingly being given the platform that they deserve.

However, the proof is in the proverbial pudding. Being invited is one thing, but getting there is quite another.

COP26 is not a level playing field. Despite some marginalised groups and leaders being invited to the historic environmental conference, COVID restrictions, expensive travel and a lack of accommodation mean attending is proving to be challenging.

Many NGOs and community leaders have not been given the information, financial support, or access to vaccines to attend, including our friends at CARE Peru who represent 17 Asháninka communities.

We don’t imagine that indigenous leaders that are able to attend will get the same air time, column inches, and coverage as the usual suspects either; so we will do our best to amplify the voices that are crucial in protecting their homes and our planet.

Everything but the Carbon Sink.

We predict a focus on environmental finance and eradicating fossil fuels, but there must also be a focus on protecting existing carbon sinks that capture huge volumes of CO2. Tropical rainforest plays a vital role in cooling our earth and will continue to do so, but only if we can support those that live there.

A much-needed dose of COP-timism.

COP26 is without a doubt, the most significant climate conference of our time and whilst we have reservations, we must have optimism too. It is undeniable that these talks have the potential to shape what happens next to our planet, and our future.

We remain optimistic.

We remain optimistic because it’s no longer possible for anyone to be a climate change denier.

We remain optimistic because the world is waking up to the knowledge that indigenous people and local communities hold, and their role in protecting the planet simply by living in rainforest.

We remain optimistic because we believe that you will continue to fight for climate justice alongside us.

World leaders attending COP26 are unable to ignore the climate emergency. For the powerful and privileged, it’s been easy to ignore the struggles of indigenous people, marginalised communities, and the predictions of scientists but they can’t ignore floods, droughts, and fires now happening in their own countries.

At the grassroots level, the world is not turning away from the climate crisis. The environmental movement is growing every day. It is unstoppable – regardless of whether decisions are made, or not made, at COP26.

A global environmental crisis calls for drastic measures and we say bring it on – the world is waiting. Whilst leaders are gathering in Glasgow to talk climate, we focus on positive climate action that starts with people living in rainforest.

We’ll be following updates closely and attending many of the sessions – you can find our schedule here.

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