COP 26: Wigan businesses hope Glasgow conference will bring much-needed climate action
Wigan businesses want to see decisions made at COP 26 that will filter down to day to day life and quickly help save the environment.
The United Nations climate conference, which is currently taking place in Glasgow, is believed to be the last chance to get climate change under control.
Town centre shops in Wigan are hoping the 12-day summit will create solutions and put steps in place to help the public understand what they need to do.
Amy Bithell, who is the owner of Little Pot Plants, said: “I think they need to act pretty fast and for things to change. It would be good to see the leaders make decisions around educating the public, which is key.
“Giving people realistic targets will make more of a difference than massive goals we can’t hit. We do need some kind of campaign to help. Local councils could activate things to make it easier for people to recycle or reuse.
“We need something to tell the people of Wigan what little things they can change on a daily basis that will hopefully have a bigger impact.”
The plant shop owner says the public might not feel the urgency to act because it’s not directly impacting them.
“Sometimes on the news it doesn’t feel real because it seems so far away from us. Showing things on a more realistic level would help more. In our town people don’t see the day to day effects, so we have to educate them about what it means for us.
“More could be done in schools, because if you are brought up with it, you will understand it more. We also need better recycling schemes, which is easier said than done. There’s a lot of transparency around it, and I don’t think it is always working.
“There is a place for protest if it is done right, because it’s better to see things actioned; not that I’m condoning anything crazy.”
Marcus Pollard, who is the owner of E-Tec Bikes, also hopes COP 26 can have a positive impact.
He believes some places have already taken positive steps and the UK has fallen behind.
He said: “We need solutions. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The infrastructure is already in place elsewhere. In Barcelona they have embraced electric bikes, but with our transport policy we are in the dark ages compared to other countries.
“COP 26 will be around countries making in depth commitments such as cutting carbon emissions and moving to green energy, but it’s about what can float down to affect everyday life, then funding it and putting things in place to allow people to do it.”
Mr Pollard believes the action must be substantial and not just to paper over any cracks.
“It’s very urgent to act. If everyone moves towards an electric car all you have managed to do is make the traffic jams quiet, you’ve not reduced it. We need a way that is sustainable but won’t clog up the road. Wigan needs to take steps towards allowing people to use transport safely.
“Ride to work schemes are very expensive for businesses like ours because they are hard to implement. People will use green transport if you encourage them but it’s got to be safe and there has to be the finances in order to do it.
“People need to see they can do things to be green, we have to understand how to make a difference, bar glueing ourselves to the M25, which makes a point but still doesn’t help. The government has to make something tangible so people can feel involved, which they’re not at the moment.”
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