With our world-class museums, legendary music scene, and proximity to the vast beauty of The Trossachs National Park, there’s plenty reasons to attract international visitors to Glasgow. However, this time, it’s not Loch Lomond or our ‘UNESCO City of Music’ accolade that beckons; world leaders from over 120 countries are meeting in the city for COP26.
COP26 – which stands for the 26th Conference of the Parties – is a United Nations summit, where countries from around the world discuss climate change. This time around, between October 31 – November 12, the countries involved are being asked for their plans to cut emissions by 2030.
Across the city, there will be a whole host of activities taking place to honour the summit, and everything it stands for, and you can get involved too.
1. Rainbow installation
This brightly coloured display in Shawlands was created by not-for-profit organisation Every Can Counts, and Glasgow City Council, to highlight the importance of recycling empty drink cans. Research conducted by the organisation suggested that more than 2.8 million drink cans are bought and used each week in Glasgow; if these were all recycled, it would create a greenhouse gas saving equivalent to taking more than 7,200 cars off the city’s roads for a week! What’s more, if you pop down to take a selfie with the installation and use the #COP26Glasgow and @EveryCanCountsUK tags (@EveryCanCounts on Twitter), you’ll be in with a chance of winning a £100 shopping voucher and a £500 donation to an environmental charity of your choice.
2. Glasgow Science Centre
Although much of the Green Zone venue will be ticketed for official COP26 summit events, there will still be over 200 events open to the public. The free, riveting talks, workshops and debates include topics such as changing consumer behaviour, youth empowerment and ‘Future Dreaming through Indigenous Knowledges and Western Science’. You can check out the full list of events, and book your tickets, here.
3. Glasgow Film Theatre
Glasgow Film Theatre’s listings will follow a more environmental theme during COP26. For a mixture of education and entertainment, you can sit back to enjoy ecological documentaries, including Whale Island, 2040, and Journey to Utopia, or teeter at the end of your seat for a showing of the environmental thriller, Wood. Check out what’s on and book your tickets on the Glasgow Film Theatre website.
4. New York Times Climate Hub
Greta Thunberg, Al Gore and other inspiring folk will be speaking at the New York Times Climate Hub – a forum spanning November 3–11. While most in-person tickets have now sold out, you can sign up online to hear thought-provoking discussions with scientists, inventors, academic, journalists and fellow citizens, all geared towards the question, “how do we adapt and thrive on a changing planet?” Check out the full programme and get your tickets here.
5. Beyond The Green
Taking place November 5–7, St Luke’s in Glasgow’s East End is hosting a fringe festival for COP26. The weekend will include live music, DJs, art installations, guest speakers and a market, showcasing solutions for a greener planet. On Saturday (November 6), UMA Entertainment, who produced Live Aid 1984, will be staging a special culture and climate event, which will include live shows by Aurora and Sam Fischer, as well as DJ sets from Andy Cato (from Groove Armada), Sarra Wild and more. 80% of the profits from this event will be donated to EarthPercent. This charity provides grants to the most effective organisations who are working on the climate crisis. Find out more here.
6. Stitches For Survival
Head down to Glasgow Green on November 6 to see a 1.5-mile scarf, knitted and stitched by hundreds of crafters from across the UK. The creators said, “We are knitting, crocheting, stitching and crafting 1.5 miles of climate messages for the negotiators to urge them to take bold and binding action together.” The scarf will be displayed across the Glasgow Green drying poles.
7. RSPB march
You may have noticed that a few special events are taking place on November 6: this is because it is officially the Global Day of Action. To mark the occasion, RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) will be leading a march along the streets of Glasgow, sending a clear message to the world leaders in town that urgent action is needed against climate change. The march will set off from Kelvingrove Park at around 11.30am. If you’d like to join, sign up on the RSPB website, so they can keep you up to date with any time or location changes.
Want to let loose and honour COP26 at the same time? Well, SWG3 is the club for you. From November 7, the nightclub will be trialling ground-breaking technology that uses revellers’ body heat to power the venue. Based on their pre-pandemic numbers, this could save around 70 tonnes of CO2, massively decreasing their energy consumption. And if that isn’t cool (or, we guess, hot) enough for you, DJ Honey Dijon will be on the decks for the inaugural night. Read more about the technology here.
9. Concert for Climate
On the summit’s penultimate day, November 11, the iconic King Tuts Wah-Wah Hut will be hosting some of Scotland’s biggest bands for an all-out concert. Project Zero’s first Concert for Climate will see acts such as Admiral Fallow, The Ninth Wave, Tamzene and The National Youth Pipe Band take to the stage, alongside headliners Twin Atlantic. The proceeds from the concert will go towards global projects that protect and restore the ocean, and blue carbon ecosystems.
See also: These Glasgow Hospitality Venues Have Teamed Up As Part Of A New Initiative To Tackle Food Waste