I wanted to stay positive about the COP26 talks but I couldn’t be bothered to read the headlines. I wanted to stay informed but I didn’t read any of the articles that were published. I wanted to be proactive and yet, when friends and neighbours, went on Global Day of Action for Climate Justice marches in Dundee and Glasgow, I made other plans. I wanted to stay connected, online, at least but, no, the virtual programme overwhelmed me. I wanted to participate in discussions and debates but it seemed the cat got my tongue. I wanted to believe in promises and pledges but I found myself cynical and disillusioned. I wanted the narrative to be urgent and for every voice in the room to be heard with respect but, I suspect, Greta, was right, blah, blah, blah seemed the order of the day.
So far, so gloomy but…right in the middle of it all, PLANT, organised a Visioning Day where 50 odd like-minded Tayport folk got together in the Gregory Hall for an afternoon that managed to be both playful and deadly serious. The aim was to explore our hopes for the town in 2030. We time travelled to a future Tayport that was litter-free; had a community orchard; an arts centre; a weekly market; a clean Tay with a Lido; cycle hire and an electric car pool – to name but a few ideas that were discussed and debated. There was a sense of purposefulness and possibility; of camaraderie and commitment and it occurred to me that really, it mattered less what was happening (or not) at COP26 but that real change was going to happen, here in this hall, with my neighbours.
The afternoon merged into early evening and we shared a delicious plant-based meal. One of the tasty dips I learnt was made from artichokes which had been grown in our community garden. There was something about this nourishing cycle, from plant to plate, and the lovely atmosphere in the hall that genuinely uplifted me for the first time since the COP26 extravaganza began. When the chairs were finally stacked, I left feeling hopeful and revitalised.
Often the human appeal to emotion engages folk on a different level to the language of science and strategy. And these emotions, in turn, can invigorate our plans for the future. So, I’d like to finish my thoughts/ramblings on COP26 with a link to a poem in the voice of the river Clyde – What Clyde Said After COP26. The poem is written by fellow Fife resident, Kathleen Jamie, who has just been appointed our new Makar (the national poet for Scotland). You can listen to a beautiful recording of it on Soundcloud below.
And a few little addons – If you want to try growing your own artichokes, pop round to the Tayport Community Garden and our gardeners, Peter and Kirsty, will give you all the help you’ll need.
If you want to try local plant-based food, delivered to your door, then here is the link to Marwick’s.
If you missed the Visioning Day, you can still take part in Carbon Conversations with Kaska: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Zoe Swann for the photos from the Pop Up Tayport 2030 event.