Climate Action

COP26: Enough of treating nature like a toilet

UN Secretary-General António Guterres didn’t mess around with his opening remarks to world leaders on Day 2 of COP26 in Glasgow. “The six years since the Paris Climate Agreement have been the six hottest years on record.” 

In one of the most powerful, passionate, even poetic environmental oratories I have heard in years, Guterres looked these leaders in the eye and told them:

Our addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink.

“We face a stark choice:  Either we stop it — or it stops us. 

It’s time to say: enough. 

Enough of brutalizing biodiversity.

Enough of killing ourselves with carbon.

Enough of treating nature like a toilet.

Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper.

We are digging our own graves.” 

“Our planet is changing before our eyes — from the ocean depths to mountain tops; from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events. Sea-level rise is double the rate it was 30 years ago. Oceans are hotter than ever — and getting warmer faster. Parts of the Amazon Rainforest now emit more carbon than they absorb. Recent climate action announcements might give the impression that we are on track to turn things around. This is an illusion. “

World leaders: this is an illusion

It’s time, world leaders for you to take off your Emperor’s new clothes. Too many of us are tired of your prevarications; your procrastination, like pushing out net-zero from 2050 to 2060. And now to 2070. Really? Act now, or get off the pot. There’s too much at stake. The people and the planet deserve better from you.


The opening photograph shows acid mine drainage pollution at Huarón mine in Peru, taken in 1997. It is part of a forthcoming edition of PeruZine published by Betula Books. This series of short, limited edition photobooks explores people and places in Peru with a focus on sustainable development and culture. If you would like to receive a free download of the first edition, simply click on the button below, go to the mailing list and tell me where to send it and it will be on its way to you.

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