It’s the “last best hope” to prevent a climate catastrophe.
That’s the words of John Kerry – America’s environment envoy – on COP26, the climate summit taking place in Glasgow soon.
But, judging by the people of Dundee and Forfar, you would have no idea the human race was in such a perilous situation.
Climate crisis: what’s that?
As we took over the climate road trip from our Press & Journal colleagues, we stopped off in the Angus town and the City of Discovery to gauge the feelings of people on the climate ahead of world leaders descending on our doorstep.
Those who did agree to speak were insightful, informed and passionate on what they would like to see from the COP26 and what environmental issues concern them.
But a shrug of the shoulders and “what’s that?” when asked about the climate summit was not uncommon.
For those following me for the #climateroadtrip… I am en route to Forfar but had to stop in Laurencekirk for a charge… only to find the rapid charger not working. @ChargePlaceScot pic.twitter.com/tMGvXTSVlq
— Scott Milne (@C_Smilne) October 24, 2021
The day started driving the e-van from Aberdeen to Forfar — a journey of around 53 miles, according to Google Maps.
The van tells me I had about 100 miles of battery power, but it didn’t work out that way.
I had to stop at Laurencekirk because I didn’t have the juice to get to my destination. But the fast charger there was not working, unfortunately.
Not a great start to the day.
For those who have read Press & Journal reporter Kieran Beattie’s electric van experiences, this will be familiar territory.
A quiet Sunday in Forfar climate crisis or no climate crisis
But I made it to Forfar to meet my colleagues. After a quick catch-up and making a plan, it was time to hit Forfar High Street to see what people make of COP26 and the climate.
It was a Sunday morning so perhaps we shouldn’t have been so surprised, but there was barely a soul there.
Time for a rethink.
We decided to head to Forfar Loch Country Park. Surely lots of people will be out walking their dogs and out with the family for a day out?
People with dogs and families care about the climate crisis, right?
That's the end of the P&J team's stint on the #ClimateRoadTrip, we've passed the keys for our electric van (which we've nicknamed White Lightning btw) to our colleague @C_Smilne at the Courier, who will be continuing our journey down to Glasgow for #COP26. Give him a follow 🙂 pic.twitter.com/VF4zW73uJr
— Kieran Beattie (@KNBeattie) October 23, 2021
While in some cases that was true, most people didn’t seem to know exactly what was going on in Glasgow.
They knew a big event was kicking off imminently, but were vague on the details.
Unsurprisingly, those same people admitted to not being very concerned over climate change.
Maybe they just didn’t want to be bothered by journalists and thought of the first thing that would get rid of us, but it was disheartening to hear.
After this we drove to Dundee — thanks to a fast charger in Forfar there was no need for mathematics to work out if we could make it.
That showed how straightforward driving an EV can be when the infrastructure is there and it’s in working order.
Free bags of fudge and wild seeds in hand to give away, we headed to City Square and then Slessor Gardens to talk to people about the biggest issue of our time.
But it was the same story.
While some people are passionate about it – with one woman saying she won’t have children because of fears over the climate – there’s more than a few who appear disconnected from the issue.
This week will see us stop at Mossmorran, Perth, Auchterarder and Callander to meet more people to talk about COP26 and the climate.
If you have any views — or even if you want some free fudge (it’s delicious) — look out for us and say hello.