Climate protestors on the bridge near COP26

The Buzz on the Fringe

…is quite literally, electric – sustainably powered, of course.

This short video taken near the Exhibition Centre stopped Tracey and Lauren in their tracks. A group of around 15 residents from Houston, Texas were standing on the edge of the Squinty Bridge by the turnstiles to the Blue Zone, making sure their message to Joe Biden and the American Government was heard loud and clear: “Keep your promise, keep your promise!

Houston’s economy has had a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation and, of course, oilfield equipment. It has 9 oil refineries which process 2.3 million barrels of crude oil every day, making it one of the largest crude producers on the planet.

There are many other groups like these out on the fringe, engaging passers-by and spreading their message far and wide, including a very interesting character dressed as Darth Vader who frequently sings Spanish love songs – I can tell you this, it might sound odd but his approach sure makes you stop to read his signs and literature.

To give you a clearer picture of how COP26 has been structured physically, here’s an overview.

If you’ve read our previous posts and watched our videos, you’ll probably have realised there are three key zones:

Blue: this is the UN-managed space, host to the main negotiations where delegations from 197 parties are being brought together. Within the Blue Zone each country or territory has a pavilion where they are able to showcase what they are doing to mitigate climate change. Observer organisations are busy sharing their stories in panel discussions, side events, exhibits and cultural events. All attendees here have been accredited by the UNFCCC. It’s the inner sanctum and security to get in is unsurprisingly heavy. You also have to present proof of a daily COVID test result and have your photo lanyard pass beeped in and out.

Green: this is managed by the UK Government and brings together delegates, observers and we believe, members of the public too. Fewer talks and presentations are on offer here compared to the Blue zone but there are 5 presentation areas; 2 in the basement, 1 in the planetarium, there’s a Science Show Theatre too and the IMAX. There are at least 30 exhibitors’ stands of various sizes arranged over 3 floors. There’s also a good sized cafe with one or two vegan options on the menu. The soup of the day is vegan by default. The Green Zone is a platform for youth groups, civil society, academia, artists, business and others to have their voices heard in workshops and talks that promote dialogue, awareness, education and commitments. No COVID test checks are being done here.

Fringe: this is open to all. A variety of venues including churches, shops, community halls and more have opened their doors for organisations and individuals who want to put on public events. There’s a super COP26 Fringe Events Calendar listing most of them, although I suspect there are more that haven’t made their way to the official list.

Our Team are dedicated to bringing you as broad a round up as possible of what’s going on in every zone around Glasgow, in video and article form.

If you’ve not signed up to receive our twice daily updates so you can keep a handle on what’s going on, visit WordForest.org/subscribe.

Simon West, Lauren Beavis, Tracey West, Sue Jueno and Lucy Meredith.

Tracey and The Team

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