Final report from our own correspondent at COP26

Lin Patterson concludes her COP26 reports from Glasgow.

THE QUESTION

The question is, again, can we, will we, make the bewildering number of changes we need?

On Friday night I caught some of the Radio 4 programme on the history of the world in selected objects. A penny coin, systematically defaced by campaigners for the women’s vote led Suffragists to become Suffragettes when they began to break the law. Only then did the disturbance become an irritant and then finally a matter of conscience to change.

After the Wednesday performance, we walked to a moored boat offering free hot drinks and comfort to XR folk. There I saw the filming of three regal indigenous women from Brazil seated in exotic dress and lofty headdresses pleading with utmost dignity for the lives of their people.

From there Rachel Berger and I attended an evening vigil organised with Quaker input. We stood for an hour by the river along with many others holding candles, (both real and plastic—still a lot to change…) in front of an illuminated structure spelling LOSS AND DAMAGE, which later was changed to RUIN AND DAMAGE about creating a fund to compensate those harmed by climate upheaval.

The question is, again, how can we do what’s necessary? We must find ways to keep our spirits supple. An enlightened, integral ethos of XR is the emphasis on “regen”, doing what’s needed to avoid burnout and despair. I took Thursday off to buy a new phone and do a Lateral Flow test, quietly spending time in the house.

Then Friday I tagged along with the Samba drummers whose driving rhythms swoop under any fatigue or despondency, to merely hand out leaflets to those momentarily lifted.

In Joanna Macey’s Work that Reconnects the path to endurance starts with gratitude. I feel grateful and enlivened by the sincerity and commitment of all those with whom I’ve shared meals, laughs, wind, rain and time this week.

I know it has mattered. Whatever the future holds, people will need each other and renewing faith to endure and to align and realign with the spirit of life.

Lin Patterson is a Bath Quaker and former Green Party councillor.

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