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Caring for our planet

A blog post by Catherine Gee

Today, as delegates at #COP26 focus on Climate Change and our ‘Cities, Regions & Built Environment’ it is important to reflect on and celebrate the role communities take to protect nature and tackle climate change while improving and enhancing the places they love. In this blog our Deputy CEO Catherine Gee reflects on the importance of caring for our neighbourhoods and the planet.

I care about people. I also care about nature and wildlife. In this, often selfish, world some of us tend to forget to care about the latter. And we can also gloss over the fact that this blue and green planet has been around for billions of years and that nature and wildlife have existed for far longer than humans. If it weren’t for nature and biodiversity, existing alongside us we wouldn’t do quite as well. Nor will we do quite as well existing within a destabalised climate.

You cannot have missed some of the headlines, information, news stories and chatter about the current Conference of the Parties (COP) on Climate Change in Glasgow. This is the 26th one, the first being in 1995, and we are still trying to get global consensus and participation to halt the terrifying changes within our climate.

For those of us who have been working on environmental issues for some time we can often feel despair rather than hope that political gain and positioning takes priority over saving our planet. Indeed, without a healthy planet, with a stable climate, rich with nature, wildlife and biodiversity, there will be no place for politics or much else for that matter as the planet is likely to be inhabitable.

We need to care about saving our planet – not just for ourselves but for the rich biodiversity from which we benefit significantly. Our planet is sick. It needs all of us to help it get better. But, generally, most of us don’t know what to do or understand what it is we are doing to make the planet unwell. If collectively we don’t gain the understanding of the part we play, then it is likely that the forms of life and nature we rely on will fail. We need to be first aiders for our planet. We need to care about our planet, our natural environment and wildlife as much as we care about our own existence.

We can bring together the issues of climate change and the issues of biodiversity loss and species extinction and we can also make it very simple to do something positive to administer first aid to our planet. We’ll probably feel better for it as well – no one can deny that being in and around nature is good for positive mental and physical health and wellbeing. For inspiration, take a look at the communities across Scotland who come together to get involved in our It’s Your Neighbourhood and Beautiful Scotland initiatives. This year we encouraged them to look through a climate and nature friendly lens, one that we should all use when making decisions about our day to day lives – giving consideration to the impact of our choices on climate change and nature. 

Irrespective of what the global leaders, politicians and dignitaries do or don’t agree at COP26, we all have it within our power to do something now.  We all care about something, have a favourite animal or tree or flower. We all have a positive memory of wildlife or nature. Now, we must all reflect and ensure that we turn our efforts towards protecting and fixing our planet so that we can save ourselves, and everything else that lives alongside us. 

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