The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is the 26th annual event of its kind.

COP26 will take place between 1-12 November in Glasgow; hosting heads of state, climate experts and negotiators from around the world, who together will forge a coordinated approach to tackle climate change.

It’s an important event and while it will capture the attention of officials from around the world, it equally needs to generate interest with the public to make a real-world impact.

That’s the view of Claire Mains from Plymouth Energy Community, the project owner behind the successful crowdfunding campaign ‘Moths to A Flame’, a mass-participation art installation planned for COP26.

Plymouth Energy Community is a charity and social enterprise which aims to create a fair, affordable and zero carbon energy system with local people at its heart.

Claire believes that the subject of energy can seem exclusive to engineers and scientists, yet to instigate the proposed scale of change that we need, “it’s essential that they bring the people along with them. Therefore, all the work that we do through community energy and the arts, shows us that this can and should be inclusive”. 

In December 2020, Plymouth Energy Community became a finalist in a unique crowdfunding experience, ‘Plymouth Climate Challenge LIVE’. After four weeks of crowdfunding, they took to the digital stage for the final night of their campaign, competing for a panel of judges against two other environmental projects for prize funding.

While they didn’t win, they achieved an incredible amount by raising £45,189 from 132 supporters. The total included £21,500 in match funding from Plymouth City Council’s ‘City Change Fund’ and £10,250 from two of Crowdfunder’s other partners. 

The Plymouth City Change Fund has made up to £30,000 available to support projects improving the city. Those which are making a significant contribution to Plymouth’s effort to tackle climate change, can receive an additional £15,000 in the form of a ‘Climate Emergency Bonus’. 

In the words of Moths To a Flame, their project ‘springs from the desire to respond with creativity to the climate emergency. When we act on our own, our actions can feel too small, when we act as communities, we can make a real difference. Our whispers of hope can become a roar for change’.

Moths to a Flame ‘is a mass participation art installation engaging thousands of people in creative activity and conversation inspired by our energy systems, relationship with nature, and the climate emergency. We hope to make 20,000 moths to display at Glasgow’s glorious botanic gardens during COP26 and also to record over 10,000 messages’.

Participants are invited to make their own moths from plastic milk bottles, ‘each month a representative of our hopes for the future’. With a target of 20,000 moths, they are encouraging people throughout the country to take part and send their creations in, to be incorporated in the ‘Moths To a Flame’ art installation.

You can also make your voice heard by recording your ‘whisper of hope’ for world leaders to hear at COP26.

Claire tells us that while the main piece of work will feature at the botanic gardens, “There will also be a virtual version of the final art installation, so you can explore from your own home, a local version based in Plymouth and a few places on the way up to Scotland”.

If you’ve got an idea that can improve Plymouth or make a positive impact in the city’s battle against climate change, find out about the funds available and start crowdfunding now!