COP26 has come and gone. Policy-makers from the rich countries predictably hailed it as a triumph that keeps alive the Paris agreement to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C, while climate scientists and activists including Greta Thunberg call it out as a failure, that still leaves us heading for extreme warming, and call for mass direct action.
Scroll down to read a reflection on the experience of COP26 by Bill of Earth Holders. But first, upcoming Earth Holders events, and even some good news:
Celebrate two years of Earth Holders Edinburgh!
Some of you may recall that the launch event for Earth Holders Edinburgh was on Sunday 8th December 2019. So, we’re going to be two years old!!
This seems like a good time for us to come together, celebrate what we’ve achieved (such as bouncing back after lockdown to a regular schedule of New Moon gatherings and Silent Rebellions, and reaching more than 80 newsletter subscribers), take stock of where we are, engage with new people, brew a new vision for Earth Holders, and find a way forward for mindful activism after COP26.
- The Earth Holders Annual Gathering & Anniversary Celebration will take place at the Salisbury Centre from 6-9pm on Wednesday 8th December (sign up via Eventbrite). We’ll share a light meal, followed by a welcoming ceremony and a People’s Assembly. [This will replace the previously scheduled New Moon Gathering on Saturday 4th December, which is cancelled.]
- Also coming up is our next Silent Rebellion on Saturday 20th November at the usual time of 12.30-2pm, facilitated on this occasion by Gustav and Ainsley. Because our normal venue next to the National Gallery has been occupied by the not-so-mindful consumerism of Underbelly’s Christmas Market, we’ll be moving to a new location, outside St Mary’s Cathedral near John Lewis.
Remember that all our events are open to everyone, whether you’re an experienced activist or not, whether you identify with any particular spiritual tradition or not. We hope to see you there!
Bill’s reflections on his experience of COP26
Whatever COP26 was, it was a marker in time. A time when we were told the world was to get together to look again at the Paris Agreement and how we were to hold climate change to 1.5 degrees. Looking back, when I first caught the train to Glasgow on the morning of that first meeting of the Interfaith COP coalition, that marker seemed very distant. It became even more distant with the pandemic. Then all the planning and meetings and discussion manifested into our prayers for COP in George Square, with wet but smiling faces as we stood in the faith bloc on the Global Day of Action. Now it is over, that distant marker passed and receding. The joy of comradeship of holding together even with the awareness of the COPs inevitable failure, the memories of Earth Holders welcoming the Pilgrims with our biggest attended Silent rebellion to date, are now but cherished memories.
I remain in this moment but reflective of the journey travelled. These two weeks in Glasgow gave us a focus, to let the world know how much this mattered to us and our children. There is no doubt they heard us, that we contributed to that outcry of pain for our world. We know this because so many of the delegates said so, in particular the global south and indigenous nations. But hearing is one thing and action another, and so we have a pale reflection of what might have been. I don’t underestimate the complexity of their task, nor the motivation of many, least of all the nations who so reluctantly signed to save what had been agreed.
The question we have now is what next for Earth Holders? I hope with imagination and a renewed sense of urgency we can meet on the 8th to look again after our two years together. To share some of our cherished moments. Give thanks to all those who stood with us be they friends and family, Interfaith, XR, or church or Sangha. To look at what these two years have taught us and what lessons have been learned. I take heart from what we have achieved together as Earth Holders, from the hundred thousand of campaigners who stood with us shoulder to shoulder as we marched to Glasgow Green and those supporting us worldwide. The Zen Buddhist Sangha in Edinburgh arrange the candles on the altar in a V shape as a reminder of the wild geese. They remind us of how the geese fly together, alternating leading, giving strength to those needing support. In the Celtic tradition wild geese are harbingers of both spring and resurrection. I look forward to Earth Holders and our native wild geese to discover how we fly together and find our flightpath in this new dawn.
Please keep on using the sky— From The Bird Path by Kenneth White
As you know how
Riding the wind
with your eyes wide open
tracing the shoreline
(along with something else it’s harder to define)
and throw out a cry or two now and then
for those of us down here who care
For the Earth,
Bill & Robert
for Earth Holders Edinburgh