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News | 05 November 2021

Chief Scout Bear Grylls speaks at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow

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Bear Grylls holds a microphone and paper while giving a presentation at COP26

Today at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Chief Scout Bear Grylls delivered three key note speeches to show world leaders and change makers that enough is enough. We must take action now and save our planet – and Scouts are leading the way.

At COP21 in Paris in 2015, global leaders agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees to prevent devastating impacts. Unfortunately, the commitments laid out didn’t come close to reaching 1.5 degrees. The window for achieving this is closing, so we need countries to go further.

Inspirational voices like Bear Grylls, David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have been motivating attendees to take further action at this year’s conference of the parties.

Bear Grylls is backed up by thousands of young people in Scouts who’ve already been taking action to fight against climate change. Through our #PromiseToThePlanet campaign, young people from over 55 countries have clocked an incredible 90,000,000+ hours of action for our world so far.

This is what Bear had to say:

‘If you had to ask the simple question: What is our biggest challenge as citizens of planet earth? What is the one thing that matters most? What’s the one thing that unites us all?

Ask any of our 57 million young people that form of global Scouting family, and the answer is clear. It’s our precious Earth – protecting the only home any of us have.

Today, we’re faced with a hard, stark choice. Take action now, and stop climate change. Or leave it for another generation. With the excuse it was too difficult. Too demanding. Too impossible.

But during my twelve years as Chief Scout, if I’ve learnt anything, it’s that Scouts tackle the impossible. They never shy away from the toughest tasks. It’s that as Scouts we care.

We’ve just had twenty of the hottest years on record. The Greenland Ice Sheet is melting. Deforestation continues, unchecked.

This COP26 is our make-or-break chance to stop this slide to catastrophe.

We’re not here to point the finger of blame. It’s too important a time for that. A global problem needs a global solution. And every one of us needs to play our part.

That’s why, we, as Scouts, are taking the lead, and making a Promise to the Planet. To say enough is enough. We’re uniting all our 57 million Scouts around the world to use their voices in the fight for our future.

But we can’t do it alone. We need our world leaders to make a promise too.

A promise to change their policies. To change the way we create our energy and use our resources.

I’ve been lucky enough to have spent my life in many of the world’s wildest places. I’ve seen the great forests of the Amazon; the deserts of Africa. I’ve looked out at the world from the summit of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest.

I know just how much we have to lose.

I know that the power of these incredible places is deceptive – and the reality is that we live on a fragile Earth.

Global emissions are threatening the thin blue halo of our atmosphere. We lose it, we die.

I’m here today, not just as Chief Scout, and Chief Ambassador of World Scouting. But as a father, and as a citizen of our planet. I am here asking us all to take a stand before it’s too late.

Yes – things are changing, but slowly. Yes, our countries are starting to make better choices. We are beginning to understand that a sustainable future can also be a prosperous one.

But the pace needs to quicken. As Greta Thunberg has warned us: ‘Our house is on fire.’

It’s at times like these one that we need to make brave decisions. Decisions that will create a better future for every one of us. If we work together we can form a chain, and put out the fire.

Young people are shining lights to us all. They’re making changes in their own lives to reduce, recycle and recover.

They’re switching to planet friendly diets, eating food that hasn’t crossed the world to get to their plates. They’re upcycling their clothes. They’re planting trees, and seed bombing gardens and local areas. They’re thinking carefully about how they spend their money. Buying better. Buying greener.

Most powerfully of all, they’re sharing their message with others.

Because that’s how change happens. We inspire each other.

I’m proud that young people are leading this fight. And I’m proud that this mission transcends borders.

Across more than 150 counties, Scouts are united by a promise to help other people. Our ‘Promise to the Planet’ is that promise in action.

This week, we all long to hear world leaders make real commitments to tackle climate change.

We’re counting on them. The world is watching.

And I have great hope this change can happen – I have hope in our future because I’ve seen the power of young people working together.

Scouts is a global force for good and the change we can make is real.

So yes, we will stand united and together, we will ask the tough questions.

Together, we will insist our leaders do more to protect our home…

and as Scouts, we will insist on creating a better world for the future.’

It’s not too late for you to take action and make a #PromiseToThePlanet – here’s how.

To find out more about the action at COP26 today, head to our Instagram and see our stories from a young person in Scouts.

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