As we look to the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP27, taking place in Egypt in just over two weeks, we also are reflecting on the legacy of COP26 in Glasgow.
The 26th meeting of COP in Glasgow resulted in climate action from across Bloomberg. Equally important was ensuring a legacy of local and sustainable impact across the UK. By partnering with the Cities of Glasgow and London on climate action projects, we aimed to extend the meeting’s climate leadership beyond the meeting walls and into the communities that make up our cities.
Cities are so often at the center of climate conversations – from our hardest challenges to our most innovative solutions. Cities have the unique ability to truly incubate innovative ideas, testing solutions before they can be brought to scale on a global stage. Last year Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies committed to collaborating on sustainable city-wide engagements to inspire local climate activism and create a lasting legacy for COP26 in the United Kingdom – starting with a physical, and beautiful, impact for residents in the heart of Glasgow and also including local programs to engage the community.
Ahead of COP26 last November, Bloomberg partnered with Glasgow City Council and artist Gabriella Marcella to create an Asphalt Art installation at the entrance of Anderston Station, transforming and revitalizing a public space through the power of art. The Waterworks project included murals related to the climate challenges in the area and integrated practical elements to help address concerns, including a rain garden to help manage excess rain and water runoff.
Another powerful example of this approach to public engagement in climate action was the launch of Create4Glasgow, which engaged young people through a series of workshops with local artists to raise awareness and inspire change. Over 820 participants produced works of art, public-action campaigns, a video series, and even stop-animation designs to raise awareness of the local impacts of climate change. You can see 12 inspirational designs created as part of the program here.
Working with Earthwatch Europe and Glasgow Science Centre, Bloomberg built on support for young people in Glasgow by helping to plant a Tiny Forest – a dense, fast-growing native woodland – in Glasgow’s Govan district, which helps to connect urban communities with nature and supports biodiversity to thrive. Earthwatch-led engagement events provide local people with the knowledge and skills to protect the natural world and inspire them to take climate action. This Tiny Forest builds on the work of Bloomberg employees, who planted over 11,300 trees last year.
In yet another example of the success in partnering for climate action locally, GirlsAtCOP26 brought together over 2500 high school students to debate elements of the climate emergency with a focus on the impacts on females. The initiative recently won the Sister Cities International (SCI) award in recognition of work towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, which focuses on reducing inequalities and engaging women and girls to be the next generation of climate leaders.
In London, Bloomberg deepened our partnership with the Mayor of London through the inaugural London Schools’ Climate Kick-Start. The initiative awarded five schools £10,000 each to accelerate innovative, student-led climate action with a local impact. From harvesting rainwater to mushroom-farming and sustainable outdoor kitchens, check out last year’s winners and see how we’re going even bigger this year.
We know that meaningful change requires local action to support and drive large-scale commitments. These kinds of projects are at the center of our strategy to partner with local communities and ensure COP is not just an event of international leaders converging to create global solutions but one that truly takes action. We are thrilled to deepen existing partnerships and find creative ways to engage communities with impactful local initiatives.
In just a few weeks, the world will converge in Egypt for COP27, and we are taking a similar approach to extend climate action into the communities hosting leaders and us from around the world. This year, we’re working to collaborate with non-profits in Egypt and across Africa on cultural and community-focused engagements that will inspire local action, engage young people, and create a lasting legacy for COP27 on the continent. We look forward to sharing more details on these actions soon.