Anxious about climate change but still have hope: A sustainability activist’s experience at COP26
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29/11/2021

Over a hundred delegates along with several hundred protesters joined COP26 to put forth their views and voices on climate change. One such voice is Mark Shayler who is a sustainability activist for 32 years and spoke to PlucTV at length regarding his experience at COP26. “I was at COP26 and fundamentally, it was both […]

Over a hundred delegates along with several hundred protesters joined COP26 to put forth their views and voices on climate change. One such voice is Mark Shayler who is a sustainability activist for 32 years and spoke to PlucTV at length regarding his experience at COP26.

“I was at COP26 and fundamentally, it was both uplifting and frustrating. Frustrating because it felt like it was a kind of holiday. Go away, think about sustainability. Go back, maybe not think about sustainability,” said Shayler.

He talks about the three outcomes out of COP 26. The first being no disagreement on working on the climate crisis.

The second being that we have to act right away. “Number three – There is some frustration around, I guess you can call them, vested interests, wanting to move a bit slower than the others,” said Shayler.

“However, my takeaway was, we are headed in the right direction, at very very different speeds. Sustainability has now been built into most people’s innovation processes and consequently it cannot be ignored any longer,” he added.

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The Cautions

There are some bewares, Shayler says.

 “Beware friendly fire. As we move forward, as an individual or as a business towards changing what we do, beware friendly fire. Beware diversion into important but ultimately hijacking single issues,” he said.

He also talks about being cautious of greenwashing, ego-environmentalists and competitive caring. 

“Yeah, but I care more than you. We all care, that’s what we are here for. And beware the elitism for one certification over another. We can get to where we want to get to without being stamped. We just need to see a bigger picture. And mainly, beware blaming others. This starts and ends with ourselves,” Shayler added.

People have woken up

Shayler says that even though it might be too late, at least everyone has woken up. “But I have hope. I have hope because fundamentally we wouldn’t have been in this position four years ago. So, it starts with you,” said Shayler.

Cover image credits: @parents4futureG/Twitter

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Mark Shayler is a sustainability activist for more than 32 years
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