AS the Covid-19 pandemic closed in around the globe, conversations around the climate crisis were reaching a crescendo.

The pandemic has caused sudden and profound changes to our lives, and presents an opportunity to shape that change into a sustainable way of life that respects our planet and its population.

The world is getting warmer. Global temperatures have been rising since the mid-20th century, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels.

The changes we have made to curb the spread of Covid-19 have given the environment a brief respite. The air is cleaner, waters clearer, and wildlife is flourishing.

On Hope Street in the city centre, the drop in traffic levels has led to an almost 50 percent drop in pollution. In Townhead, an air quality monitoring station recorded the lowest levels of pollution since it came online. Deer have been spotted on Buchanan Street, maybe nobody told them the shops were all closed.

These changes might be temporary, but changes to our way of thinking don’t have to be. The pandemic has exposed a global vulnerability, and the importance of our interconnectivity. Climate change is a global challenge that needs a global solution.

The power is in our hands to decide how we rebuild our lives. The way we choose to travel and how often, how we work, the products we purchase or choose not to, are just some of the things we can change to do our bit for the planet.

World leaders have decisions to make on rebuilding our economies to balance people, our planet and prosperity to ensure that nations don’t thrive at the expense of our planet, or indeed other nations. These decisions will reach a head next year at the delayed United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP26.

This pivotal COP is under UK presidency, and will be hosted here in Glasgow, most likely in mid-to-late 2021. This event will put Glasgow on a global stage. It will bring together 200 world leaders with scientists and other organisations to assess global progress on tackling climate change, laid out in 2015 in the Paris agreement. 

At Glasgow Science Centre, we want to ensure the COP doesn’t happen to the people of Glasgow but with us. And this means everyone: we want to involve school pupils, young people, families and adults from communities throughout Glasgow and beyond.

COP26 has been postponed, but we’re already getting started. We are working on some really exciting experiences and events with partners from across the UK to excite, engage and inspire. Our programme of events will officially launch at the end of this summer, so follow us on our social media channels to keep up to date.

We will be hosting our programme of events online, but as the COP gets closer and as social distancing measures allow, there will be lots of other ways to get involved from family activity days, exhibitions, festivals, talks and discussions and much more.

We have collaborated with leading climate change scientists and other professionals to create our programme’s five key themes:

lEnvironmental Science: We’ll debunk the myths and get to grips with climate change facts. Find out how life on land and underwater is changing

and what you can do to save it.

lEnergy, Transport and Travel: How does the energy we use and the way we travel impact our planet? Investigate the role renewable energy sources and electric vehicles play in our transition to sustainable living.

lFood: Tuck in to the colourful world of sustainable food. How does our food get from farm to fork? Learn how you can reduce your carbon footprint through your own food choices.

lOur Green Futures:  Discover a bright future that balances people, planet and prosperity. Find out what you can do to build a healthier, happier and fairer future.

lClimate justice: How can we connect as one global community and put people at the heart of the climate crisis? Hear the stories of those contributing least to climate change but suffering the most.

Glasgow is no stranger to hosting spectacular international events. This experience as well as our famous warm welcome played no small part in our selection to host this huge event.

This is an incredible opportunity for Glasgow to do what it does best, but it’s also an opportunity for us to lead by example by playing our part in tackling the climate crisis, working together towards a healthier, happier and greener future in our local community and beyond.