COP 26- Saving the environment must be personal

the environment

COP 26 and saving the environment

Just in case you have been wondering, COP 26 is the 26th annual conference of parties (COP). This is the attempt by the United Nations to bring together all the leaders of countries to discuss issues relating to the environment. This year, the conference is in Glasgow, Scotland.

Do what I say and not what I do

The big speeches by powerful people who fly in private jets and drive in gas guzzling motorcades to tell the rest of us to give up our little mopeds will not help. Citizens follow the acts of their leaders and not their words and speeches. Social media allows us to know what is going on within moments.

I have watched and listened to some of the great speeches and promises of world leaders about their plan to save the environment.

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The Questions

My first question is; How relevant is COP 26 to people in a remote area in Congo or those struggling to make ends meet in small Covid-19 ravaged city in the USA, Haiti or to the sheep farmer in New Zealand?.

What about those citizens who lost their homes and incomes during the ENDSARS protests in Nigeria? Now imagine trying to stop people from burning fire wood 🪵 in the jungles of Brazil so that future generations can be saved. Minicab drivers in Harare are unlikely to be able to afford electric cars to ply their trade. These are people trying to stay alive, they are not thinking of the future of their grandchildren, not at the moment.

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Leading by actions

The US President could have started by reducing his huge motorcade or even cycle to the event from close by or better still make his speech via satellite. Saving the environment must move away from the big talks and be personal to everyone. What will I gain by being environmentally savvy? We are talking survival here. This is why I believe that when we focus on the opportunities and the financial consequences of saving the environment, then it becomes personal.

People will be more interested if we tell them that by switching off the lights in the rooms they are not using, then they will save $2 a week, which if invested can turn into $1000 in so many years time, for example. That to me is personal and I can see the benefit of doing so. Education is key and making life easy and savings even easier helps to change attitudes.

Entrepreneurship and innovation to the rescue

Teaching entrepreneurship means that people are constantly looking for opportunities to save money and improve their lives. I will install a solar system in my house because it will help me to save on my expenses, yes of course it will help to improve the environment. The environmental and health concerns have not helped people who live in developing countries where electricity is not constant. It is much easier and cheaper for them in the short term to use air and noise polluting electric generators than install solar panels and we need to encourage them by making things easier and less expensive .

Educating us about the financial impact of buying electric cars, its pay-back period etc, will help to make the change. How many of us will buy eco friendly products if they are 2 or 3 times more expensive than normal products?

Make things personal

If managing money and developing entrepreneurship skills make so much sense why are we not teaching children from an early age? I have no idea, but several experts believe our education system has not changed much in over 100 years. If that is the case, then we need a lot of catching up to do. We need to introduce money management skills the same way we teach maths in schools. We need to teach everyone that being entrepreneurial in everything they do is the way of the future. A job in a company may not be guaranteed in the future.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are our best solutions to combating the environment issues that we face.

Leaders must task each and everyone of us with this obligation to act, but they must lead with their own actions. Everyone of us making the sacrifice will help. We cannot claim that the greatest polluters must continue and let the poorest and less pollutants make the sacrifice.

If we are all in this together, then we must all feel the pain of the sacrifice together.

What are your thoughts?

You may be interested in my previous blog about “The environment is big business” 

Or the environment and air travel