GAU responds to Cop26

The world’s biggest climate event has opened in Scotland.

Cop26 has been called our last chance to avoid a catastrophic rise of 1.5C in global temperatures, something that would exacerbate extreme weather, threaten vulnerable species and push the world’s poorest even further into hardship.

Around 30,000 people are expected to attend the event in Glasgow, the city now home to most of Scotland’s Afghan community. At Glasgow Afghan United (GAU) we’ve been working hard to respond to Cop26, but we’ve also made environmental issues a key part of what we do.

The GAU school has been working with children to understand what Cop26 is and what it means for all of us and helping support them with homework from teachers that relates to the summit. And during the October week, three of our young people were able to spend time at Scottish renewables firm Autonomous iOt to develop their science, technology, maths and engineering (STEM) skills while learning more about how wind and solar power can help reduce our carbon footprint. With access to basic resources like reliable and affordable power still a major issue in Afghanistan, this is an issue that has a direct bearing on the lives of millions of people there and in other countries – something the Cop26 leaders have a chance to address through commitments to renewables.

Our allotment allows members valuable direct access to green space they can call their own, which is beneficial for their physical and mental health and wellbeing. It also allows them to grow their own food and plants, helping to drive local production of goods for greater sustainability as well as cutting household costs.Thanks to a lot of hard work we’ve had a bumper year with strawberries, chillies, herbs and much more. This year drought and the withdrawal of foreign aid has created a major problem with food supplies in Afghanistan and many people are hungry. We call on the Cop26 leaders to make productive progress on food production and sustainability.

Our Women’s Empowerment Project has also been focussing on what climate change and Cop26 mean for the world’s women. It’s essential that women’s voices are at the forefront in Cop26 so that we can harness all the talent and vision from groups so often marginalised and silenced in their own countries and communities. It’s only by overcoming sexist structures that lock women out of discussions and decisions that we can find the solutions we need and we call upon Cop26 to put women front and centre for the entirety of talks to drive the change in communities across the world.

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