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COP26 - 2021 Glasgow, UK

Shaftesbury & the

26th UN climate change

Conference of Parties

Leading up to COP26: Our varied activities during the last week of October 2021 are documented here with photos and links to recordings including the remarkable performance by an impromptu choir of Karen Wimhurst's rewritten Allegri's Miserere  commemorating victims of climate change.    

The conference outcomes were mixed. There are many interpretations online and a New Scientist piece has been reproduced in a blog on our website here. In The Observer, Will Hutton commented that public concern about climate change has grown considerably in recent years, and where consumers go, businesses and politicians follow. He said "What is vital is not so much COP26, but, rather, the process, movement and social change it represents. Humanity has to save itself. It will be messy and imperfect - but we'll get there."

Local Events in the lead up and during COP26

The week before COP26

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This exhibition brings together three items that have been created earlier this year by separate members of the Planet Shaftesbury network. They are:

A Photographic display

A display of Christina Strickland's photographs of Dorset wildflowers (& some insects) Christina is passionate about providing positive messages in the context of environmental campaigning and uses her photographs to focus attention on the nature around us. This display was first used as part of Planet Shaftesbury's stand at the 2021 Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show.


The Backdrop

A colourful compilation of photos, soundbites, poems and charts that illustrates the situation within which we’re now living out our lives. Attention is drawn to specifics – Shaftesbury, Dorset or UK - but the images here span the globe. None of us can escape the consequences of human impact on climate and damage to the natural world of which we are part.

This collage was first compiled to provide a backdrop to the more tangible activities offered at Planet Shaftesbury's G&S Show stand in 2021. It was compiled by Rachel Bodle with the selection of images and order of presentation being informed by the work of Climate Outreach.

No Going Back 

Karen Wimhurst (Composer) and Ed Bersey (Sylvafield Studios) have created an audio collage of spoken voices from Shaftesbury North Dorset, underscored with original music.

Members of a local environmental group, Planet Shaftesbury, were invited to make recordings of themselves, their neighbours, and friends at the onset of the pandemic through to Spring 2021 when people were asked these questions:


  • What are your new priorities?

  • What do you love?

  • What can you let go of?

You can hear no going back on the player below

00:00 / 20:55

The day before the start of COP

Read and listen again to some of the items from the concert Sing The Change held on 30th October 2021

Richard Foreman's poem, Lamentation (after Thomas A Clark)

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The First Day of COP26

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Walk to COP26


Local people walked in stages from Tisbury to Semley to Shaftesbury as part of a national initiative to 'virtually accompany' six people who actually walked 500miles from London to Glasgow to arrive on 31st October. Photo of local walkers at Gold Hill.

Mid way through COP26 - 6th November 2021

On the 6th November, mid-point of COP26 & Global Day of Action, in Duncliff Woods, Planet Shaftesbury were present alongside the Woodland Trust building with its displays created by local artist Janet Swiss. The gazebo had varied tree identification information, folklore and quiz activity that proved popular with children - all assembled by Christina Strickland & John Nelson.

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Gazebo with display and childrens activities in Duncliff Woods

Created by Christina Strickland and John Nelson

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Displays created by local artist Janet Swiss

Tree Identification pictures


Planet Shaftesbury Meeting on 18th November 2021

At our meeting on Nov 18th we heard about COP26 from 3 different perspectives, all offered by members of our network:


Sarah Watt is a professional commentator on climate & sustainability issues. After providing a structured overview of the COP process and outcomes she said the Centre for Alternative Technology had demonstrated that the UK can meet ambitious targets for carbon reduction but, so far, lacked the political will. However, what we do together and in our own lives makes a difference and we can track our household impact through the WWF carbon footprint calculator. She also advised that we pay attention to our emotional resilience. 


ffinlo Costain founded the Food & Global Security Network and was at COP26 chairing a 

panel on food systems for the European Commission, IPES Food, World Bank and World Economic Forum etc... This link takes you to it, but you need to skip the first 7 minutes or so! He was pleased that land use and food systems had been included at Glasgow this year. 


Karen Wimhurst joined the demonstrations and attended fringe events outside the conference for a couple of days. She and another member of our network who was in Glasgow with other climate activists described their experiences for the Alfred Daily on Nov 15th. Listen here at 29.44. 

What Next?


After hearing from Sarah, ffinlo & Karen we reviewed what we could do in response to COP26 and local needs. Ideas were floated, explored and amplified in discussion, and it was agreed to publicise them through this newsletter. These are topics that can inspire activity for 2022 - get involved by emailing us or join the December meeting (16th):

  • farming futures, share farming, helping young people into work on the land, regenerative agriculture, biodiversity, connection to Kingston Maurward, possible follow-up to our panel discussion from 2 years ago (described here), film series 'Carbon Cowboys' was recommended

  • water, water companies & river health, learning from Wimborne Community Theatre's activities 'exploring the rivers', possibility of a pilgrimage linking communities along the Stour, Adrian Newton as a contact with relevant expert knowledge 

  • reducing waste, understanding recycling, possibility of another public update from Dorset Council, resisting incineration (see campaign to stop Portland waste incinerator), sustainability & a 'circular economy' 

  • making better choices, understanding the climate/nature implications of what we buy / where we shop / etc, language matters: we are 'citizens' not 'consumers', awareness of social justice & the different areas where individuals have choices, create opportunities to talk, climate cafe & coffee mornings

  • engage with younger people, refresh our schools links, school-based citizen's assembly on nature, use of a school hall for public meeting, 'future classroom'

  • climate hope, appealing public events - performance or film shows, fundraising, opportunity to share information on eg. Insulate Britain 

  • public talk on COP26, January?, link to 'new year resolutions'

  • climate change resilience plan, find out what Dorset Council has, build one!

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