COP26 is currently taking place in Glasgow, and earlier this week I was lucky enough to attend in person as a delegate - and lum got a shout-out during an official COP26 event focused on sustainable visions of the future.
What is COP26?
COP26 is this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, taking place from 31 October - 12 November. It brings together politicians, decision makers, organisations, businesses and members of the public to discuss and agree climate action and binding international commitments to address our climate emergency.
In 2021, the UK and Italy are hosting the conference from the city of Glasgow. It is a mega-event - up to 30,000 delegates attending from countries around the world - and each day there are live negotiations, official events, exhibitions and talks taking place within the special UN-controlled COP zone, as well as hundreds of civil society responses and activities (including climate marches) happening around the city and wider Scotland.
Lum’s COP26 shout-out
I was thrilled when, during the official COP26 Green Zone event ‘Visions of Tomorrow for a sustainable future in Scotland and Malawi’, Emma Yule of 2050 Climate Group highlighted lum as an example of one of the many and diverse ways through which young people in Scotland have been taking climate action through special solution-based projects.
“These projects demonstrate a wide variety of ways of taking climate action, whilst engaging and inspiring others”
Watch the clip (and hear about the other projects) here:
Proud to be part of ‘2050x’
Lum was highlighted as an example of 2050 Climate Group’s ‘2050x’ programme: an initiative hosted by this incredible youth-led Scottish charity which seeks to enable more young people to initiate and develop sustainable projects. Earlier this year, I applied to the 2050x fund with a hope to create a new product line which would build on my sustainability principles, whilst also solving a couple of different problems I'd observed among my peers.
My application was successful and 2050x enabled me to invest in the tools and materials to design and prototype my lum therapeutic heat packs, as well as to create and have (sustainably printed) product information cards to provide more sustainability education and connection with my customers.
I had the idea last winter, but I couldn’t afford the upfront costs as a new business, and was struggling to move things forward on my own. As part of supporting my project, 2050 Climate Group also paired me with a member of their volunteer team with expertise in sustainability, textiles and marketing, who was able to give me some pointers and act as a sounding board to all my ideas!
Heat packs for a cooler planet
I launched my therapeutic heat packs in October this year, and I’m thrilled by how many of you have loved the idea and have already purchased them for yourself or a friend/family member.
I have been an avid user of heat packs for years - initially for their soothing benefits for sore muscles, but increasingly for keeping warm in cold Scottish homes! There’s a big tradition of hot water bottles (or stoneware ‘pigs’) in Scotland, but I found microwavable heat packs to be more flexible, more efficient and multi-purpose year-round.
Scotland and the wider UK have some of the most ambitious climate targets in the world, and although there are great developments being made to decarbonise our electricity supply (mainly through wind power here in Scotland), we have a problem with heat. Most of our heating systems rely on gas as a fossil fuel, the burning of which directly contributes to climate change. Our heating can also be quite inefficient: leaky or uninsulated homes, or inflexible central heating systems which heat a whole house rather than just the room someone is using at the time.
In 2021 this issue is only intensifying: the recent (and ongoing) energy crisis means that household bills are rising rapidly and people are struggling to heat their homes. Plus, with Covid-19 infection rates still high, we’re caught between socialising inside in the cold months, whilst keeping windows open for safety in ventilation. Often this means that the carbon and financial expense of heat is going straight out the window.
I ascribe to the idea of ‘heat the person, not the room’ as a way to maximise cosy winters that don’t cost the planet: focusing on warm jumpers, blankets and heat packs to reduce the need for extensive gas central heating. I’ve experimented over the years for the best shape, filling and material, and use my personal lum heat pack on a daily basis for this very purpose.
How 2050 Climate Group supports young people to lead climate action
I’m so grateful to 2050 Climate Group and the 2050x fund for helping me get here. It’s an amazing charity that’s focused on empowering young leaders to take climate action towards a just and sustainable society.
They do this in a variety of ways – from running large-scale summits for young people aged 18-35 to hosting social events, from running their annual Young Leaders Development Programme to amplifying the voices of young people in Scotland and Malawi.
Thanks again to 2050x - you can browse their supported lum therapeutic heat packs here.