October is an important month on many fronts. It is host to #UrbanOctober, month-long conversations on sustainable urbanization conducted through hundreds of virtual and physical events and activities which begins on World Habitat Day on October 4th and ends on World Cities Day on October 31st when COP26 begins.
This year #UrbanOctober focuses on the climate crisis which is also the theme of UN-Habitat’s campaign ClimateAction4Cities.
Addressing a meeting of Mayors convened by C40 cities on 16 April 2021, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said:
“Cities are also on the frontlines of the climate crisis. More than half a billion urban residents already face rising sea levels and more frequent or severe storms. By mid-century more than 3.3 billion urban residents could be at risk from severe climate impacts. Cities also have an outsize carbon footprint. With just over half the global population, they emit more than 70% of global greenhouse gases. The COVID-19 pandemic is a global catastrophe. But investment in recovery is a generational opportunity to put climate action, clean energy and sustainable development at the heart of cities’ strategies and policies. How we design power generation, transport and buildings in cities – how we design the cities themselves - will be decisive in getting on track to achieve the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. We need a revolution in urban planning and in urban mobility: including better fuel efficiency; zero emission vehicles; and shifts toward walking, cycling, public transport, and shorter commutes. Cities stand to gain most from phasing out coal: clean air; green outdoor spaces; healthier people.”
Selva Ozelli’s Net Zero Campaign Art Shows
Cities are responsible for most of global carbon dioxide emissions as well as Covid-19 cases. 200 of the world’s leading health journals released a joint statement pleading with global leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change, which they say is the greatest threat to public health.
New World Health Organization Global Air Quality Guidelines provide clear evidence of the damage air pollution inflicts on human health, at even lower concentrations than previously understood. The guidelines recommend new air quality levels to protect the health of populations, by reducing levels of key air pollutants, some of which also contribute to climate change. Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats to human health, alongside climate change. Ambitious climate action has now become a matter of urgency according to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Especially since the initial NDC Synthesis report showed that the world is not on track to reach the Nationally Determined Contributions in accordance with the Paris Agreement to address climate change.
With thousands of companies now committed to delivering net zero emissions and the UK set to host the critical COP26 Climate Summit, accelerating decarbonization strategies towards a green recovery from the pandemic has become a priority.
The Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference runs from 11 – 15 October and brings people together to advance pragmatic, action-oriented research to help cities reduce their carbon footprint and increase resilience to climate change.
This conference runs parallel to the 2021 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), which will be held digitally in Kunming, China convening governments from around the world to agree a new set of goals for nature over the next decade through the Convention on Biological Diversity post 2020 framework process. The framework sets out an ambitious plan to implement broad-based action to bring about a transformation in society’s relationship with biodiversity and to ensure that, by 2050, the shared vision of living in harmony with nature is fulfilled for a green recovery from the Pandemic.
Urban October ends won #WorldCitiesDay on 31 October 2021 with the theme of ‘Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience, focusing on creating more sustainable, climate-resilient societies.’
The same day when the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, (COP26) begins. Held in the city of Glasgow, Scotland between 31 October and 12 November 2021, COP26 under the presidency of the United Kingdom, is set to incorporate the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 16th meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP16), and the third meeting of the parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA3). COP26 is the first time that Parties are expected to commit to enhanced ambition since COP21.
My art show series Art in the Time of Corona 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 - Recovery Roses explores the connection between CO2 pollution and the pandemic with the virus depicted in the form of roses, as roses have been cultivated for over 5,000 years all around the world in 40,000 varieties and survive in the cities. My art shows will be on exhibit during Urban October at the following events: