As politicians prepare to gather at COP26 – arguably the most important climate conference since Paris – it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge.
The headlines focus on energy and transport and technological innovation as the saviour – all the while, one of the simplest solutions to tackling multiple challenges is right beneath our feet.
Land is often the silent partner in the climate debate, and natural systems, which lock up carbon, are our biggest ally in the race to net zero.
Across the UK, a growing movement of citizens is already harnessing these natural systems for a better future.
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While politicians talk, across the UK, citizens are taking action: farmers are transforming the way they farm, communities are growing food to give wider access to affordable, healthy produce, businesses are developing short sustainable supply chains and much, much more.
To showcase these stories, of hope and climate action, we are hitting the road again - to show leaders heading to Glasgow what’s possible, how much is being achieved already, and where we need their help to support people to do more.
Follow #LandUnlockedTour to see where we have been, and where we're heading next.
Explore the stories as they emerge on our interactive map of the tour.
The COP26 president has set out four clear goals - driving down emissions, protecting people and nature, mobilising finance, and improving collaboration at all levels. Below, we focus on the COP26 themes of nature, finance and adaptation and look at how they, along with the president's priorities, suggest clear actions for governments, business and civil society.
Nature-based solutions are “actions to protect, sustainably use, manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems, which address societal challenges, effectively and adaptively, providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”. Agroecology meets that definition and shares many principles. Its strength is that it helps address many challenges, identified in the SDGs, including providing enough healthy food for all. And this food is sustainably produced by viable businesses who are restoring nature and acting on the climate emergency.
Aligning public and private finance for a rapid and just transition is at the core of serious climate actions. The market alone may not be capable of making the bold, fair and transformative moves, away from the old, extractive and inequitable industries and towards more just and sustainable economy. Governments acknowledge this, having kickstarted transitions to cleaner energy, housing and transport in the past. Now, the same shift is needed in agriculture, to help farmers and growers move rapidly towards more regenerative practices, backed by patient and purposeful finance, with government policies that set out clear ambition and direction for the sector.
The climate is already changing. Climate shocks are becoming more frequent, with serious impacts for farmers and growers, and for communities at risk of flooding and droughts. Alongside collaborative international and national actions, communities need the tools and resources to shape the locally-led actions that work best for them. Yet land is often the silent partner in these climate conversations. With the right approaches and resources, local community knowledge of land and landscapes can help create plans which support a thriving food and farming sector (led by agroecological principles) and give agency back to those on the front lines of climate change.