COP26 Yarn Bomb!

To highlight the breadth and depth of the ecological emergency, our town’s Yarn Bomb group brought the challenges facing our natural world to the streets of Southwell… on our bollards. We used some of the 112 bollards to explain some of the breadth and depth of the challenges faced by the climate and biodiversity.

We know it’s not the chirpiest or cuddliest of subjects, so it seemed fitting to start with our #climatecanary.

Canaries were used to warn of dangerous pollution in the coal mines. In recent weeks they have been used by craftivists to gently remind and warn their MPs about the dangers of climate change. Today’s ‘canaries’ are not dying due to the direct impact of higher temperatures, but due to their impact on behaviour, rainfall, loss of habitat, or on a species’ prey, pollinators and pathogens. The extinction of one species has a knock-on impact through the food chain.

Communicating climate crisis is challenging. Even more so when you set yourself the challenge of communicating it in wool on a bollard!

The greenhouse is our atmosphere. Gases, such as carbon dioxide, build up in the atmosphere and prevent heat from escaping into space.

At natural levels this helps keep our planet habitable, but by burning fossil fuels humans have increased the rate of their release by more than a third which keeps more heat in than we need. The more pollution, the faster the world warms, and the harder it is for the natural world – including humans – to adapt.

Peatland can help us through the climate emergency by absorbing pollution and protecting the wider landscape from flooding. Research by Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Brackenhurst is showing how to improve conservation , sustain the quantity and quality of water resources, and develop alternative growing media. Here’s one of their researchers, resting at the top of Ropewalk.

Southwell Minster is rare as a rural cathedral, and we are so pleased that it feels its location gives it a particular responsibility to stand up for the environment.

On the eve of COP26 it rang its bells , as is the tradition, to sound a warning. In this case the warning was that greenhouse gases are continuing to rise. The Minster inspired this # ‘listening to the leaves’ bollard – we must listen to nature’s warning & each other.

On Halloween, we asked before you dunk a 🐸 in your cauldron tonight, remember the boiling frog fable.

We wouldn’t jump into an overheated world, so why aren’t we actively turning down the heat? It will only lead to double double toil and trouble… 🧙‍♀️🧙‍♀️🧙‍♀️

A number of the bollards carried a peat free message. Monty Don has described peat compost as eco-vandalism.

Peatlands absorb carbon, control flooding, and provide homes for an array of wildlife. It is not worth destroying them for any garden.

What makes an #ecohome environmentally-friendly?

The biggest impact from our homes is how we heat them, and most homes rely on burning fossil fuels.

Let us know if you’re interested in joining a group looking at alternative options in the new year, similar to our Solar Streets project in 2019.

When we made this to promote the locations you can travel to by train from Newark Northgate, we couldn’t imagine the Chancellor would reduce air passenger duty for internal flights in the run up to COP 26.

Mile for mile, flying is the most damaging way to travel, with short-haul the most damaging per mile emitting 254g of CO2 per kilometre, compared to 41g for a fast train or 28g for a coach.

The climate stripes were designed by Ed Hawkins of Reading University to visualize the warming of the climate, with a line per year and blue signalling cooler years and red warmer years, recorded against the average temperature 1971-2000.

We yarnbombed the climate stripes on a bollard and a bench!

Does it matter that millions have marched to make the case for climate justice as part of the COP26 Coalition? Does protest help? In April 2019 Extinction Rebellion’s pink boat sat in the centre of Oxford Circus for 5 days as part of a non-violent direct action to ask the Government to ‘tell the truth’ about the climate emergency, ‘act now’ and be led by a citizens assembly. For all the protest’s critics, the Government went on to raise its targets to ‘Net Zero’ and the UK Parliament ran a Citizens Assembly to consider policy options. Peaceful protest is part of major social change, from ending the Atlantic slave trade to winning votes for women.

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