COP26: Where do I go from here?

Written by: Angela Fulton, ALISS Programme Partnerships Manager, the ALLIANCE

Published: 17/11/2021

Picture of a field, with green grass and white sheep grazing. There is a bubbling blue brook in the foreground, with small light brown boulders edging the brook. There are small grass covered hills in the background which have shadows from the clouds blocking the sun on them. The clouds in the sky at the top of the image are grey and you can just see a hint of blue sky where the clouds break. There is a faint rainbow, at the front of the clouds reaching from the left of the picture to the right of the picture.

ALISS Programme Partnerships Manager, Angela, shares some thoughts about wellbeing following COP26, and introduces our related ALISS plans.

I don’t remember when I had my first migraine. It feels like something I should know, a significant moment, especially as I likely had no clue what was happening at the time. Some incidences remain very vivid, such as during a seminar group at university or as a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding, but perhaps the associated ‘brain fog’ has blurred a lot of the memories.

Why am I mentioning this with a “COP26” title?

Earlier this year, I’d started acupuncture to try and help my migraines. One key question the acupuncturist asked when we initially met was “How much time do you spend outdoors?”. I’ve been to many (very helpful and very kind) professionals over the years to consider options for my migraines, but never been asked this. Yet, for me, this is such an important part of my wellbeing.

I’m always in awe of our natural world in Scotland. I hope that I respect it – in fact, my utmost respect/ slight terror of ‘blue spaces’ means I’ve yet to be convinced to surf or paddleboard or get involved in any of the activities some of our team are often trying to sign us up for! My gran was a member of her local Horticultural Society, and I totally loved that when I was wee (there’s now a running family joke from one of these events but that’s not quite suitable for print, I’ll tell you if we speak in person…).  I’ve unfortunately never quite been ‘green-fingered’ myself, and it remains an ongoing challenge to nurture the plants and cuttings kindly given to me by team members, but I give it a good go!

Now and then though, and especially with COP26 happening so close to home, I do worry about the mutual responsibility Mother Nature and I have for one another, the personal and collective responsibility we all have. I worry I don’t do enough of the right thing or do too much of the wrong thing. I worry about the impact on everyone and the future of it all. I’m an overthinker – this doesn’t help my migraines! – and the uncertainty can creep in and niggle when I’m totally excited about an epic rainbow on display. Addressing this guilt, and the potentially overwhelming “climate grief”, is something we’ll be exploring as part of an “Our World” theme (more on this below).

The “outdoors” question was just part of my acupuncturist’s holistic approach, and there are of course other things which make up our attempts to manage my pain – but my migraines have thankfully lessened in impact, and I do believe that nature has played a part. I just hope that the conversations I have, personally and professionally, and associated actions, can help me to return the favour.

 “Our World” is a key theme for our Engagement Plan, as part of our refreshed ALISS Strategy, which follows our user and technical research and engagement insights. Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing more about our plans and ways for people across Scotland to get involved.

We want to hear what matters to you in this, how you would describe things, your thoughts on the ‘language’, where and how we should be talking about this. We’ll be building on our existing work with communities, teams, and organisations to look at climate action, community food, green and blue spaces, physical activity, active travel, and anything else that keeps people well around this theme.  We’ll also be working with our ALLIANCE colleagues further on the “20 minute neighbourhood” concept and “Nature Therapy” research.  If you’re involved with a group or organisation, we’d love to hear more about what you are doing around this theme.  

You can get in touch by emailing us at hello@aliss.org.  We’re looking forward to working together.




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