COP (Conference of the parties) is a yearly conference where members countries of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) review progress on the fight against climate change. On the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021’s website it said that the main goal of COP26 was to “secure global net-zero emissions by midcentury and keep 1.5 within reach.” Which means countries need to keep our planet’s global temperature under 1.5c. During the conference, world leaders made a pledge to stop deforestation, 20 countries agreed to stop funding fossil fuel mining operations, and the US and China made plans to work together to combat climate change. But COP26 has faced its fair share of controversy. Many activists like Greta Thunberg have called this conference a “failure” and referred to it as a “two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah,” to “maintain business as usual,” and “to create loopholes to benefit themselves.” Many activists have called out issues with COP26’s hypocrisy; an example of this being the menu at COP26, which served animal products, angering many people as the meat/poultry industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gases and global warming.
Even though COP26 was a significant moment in the year, many people didn’t follow the news about it for many reasons. With Covid-19 and more recently the flooding in BC, many people have been caught up in their own problems to be focused on this event. Science Teacher Bree Mireau mentions bad news fatigue as cause of this lack of knowledge. “It is not that people don’t necessarily care, but they are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.” This feeling of being overwhelmed also comes from the large amount of information and misinformation on the internet.
Although many students don’t know about COP26, they have been learning plenty about climate change at school. Riverside’s science department has included climate change in some of its curriculum. Riverside science teacher, Brenda Yorke’s fall semester science 9 class were assigned an inquiry project where students had to ask questions about climate change. “There were a variety of topics each reflecting the student’s own concerns,” said Yorke. In Riverside science teacher, Erika Lundren’s science fall semester 9 class, the students were tasked with using the video game Minecraft to craft solutions to their concerns about climate change, and then they wrote about it. One of Lundren’s grade 9 science students, Lisabella Dela Cruz commented on the project. “I found the project enjoyable because we could use Minecraft, which is something that we don’t usually get to use in class. It made me want to be creative with deciding what to create in my Minecraft world and the ideas were endless.“
With Global warming becoming more and more of an imminent threat to humanity, as time goes on its important that people stay informed and educated on this subject.