I am writing this from within the COP26 Blue Zone, in the middle of a day full of meetings with Governments and partner organisations all interested in applying and scaling the ecovillage model in different ways.
GEN is at COP26 to create visibility for the ecovillage approach to a sustainable present and future, to nurture existing and new relationships that enable GEN to scale and achieve our mission, to reaffirm and expand our agreements and commitments with Governments and partners in the Pan African Ecovillage Development Programme, PAEDP, and to keep sensing and listening to refine our impact and strategy in the quickly changing landscape of climate change adaptation, resilience and large transformation.
With 3 days still to go, we feel satisfied with our results so far.
We delivered two public events, made many new connections, and continue to receive a lot of interest in the PAEDP, meeting ministers and even Ecovillage Development Programme coordinators from around the continent.
Today, the theme of the conference is gender, and we are hosting an exhibit called ‘Women, Power and Entrepreneurship in the Climate Change Age – Amplifying the voices of women from the global south through ethical markets’ together with partners Gaia Education, Lush, THREAD Siddhartha Village, BASD Bangladesh, WWF and others.
I know many people doubt the efficiency of COP for creating large scale change at the policy level. I am not sure yet. For us here, it does offer an unparalleled opportunity to listen and sense into the flows of the global conversation on the climate emergency, and to meet in person, sometimes serendipitously, sometimes through careful planning, with many different actors and stakeholders.
It’s too soon to come to any conclusions, but to us it is clear that we are far beyond talking about climate and carbon; that the conversation is moving towards adaptation and resilience, and that nature based solutions are gaining more visibility and prominence.
With all the pledges of increasing climate finance, we are also taking part in many conversations around how these funds will reach communities on the ground, and truly benefit people and those at the forefront of the disruptions of the multidimensional unravelling we are experiencing. The task is huge, but we are many.
There is a lot of blablabla, but there are also a lot of people who love this Earth and burn to make a change – inside the COP26 doors, in the thousands of events here in Glasgow outside of the official conference, and around the world. We know ecovillages are part of the answer. The time to stand up, to act, and to proudly share and grow what we have nurtured for so long, is definitely now.