COPnes26: what’s on!

“Totnes” by Doolallyally is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

COP26 is set to dominate the news over the next two weeks. Where does this leave our region and local communities? Totnes has started its own parallel environmental event to COP called ‘COPnes26’, continuing the town’s now well-established tradition of environmental and sustainability awareness.

Here are some highlights:

One of COPnes26’s roles is to enable community discussion – inclusive and transparent – around issues and concerns about the environmental crisis.

The first of four panel discussions will be held 2 November Tuesday at 19:00, with the focus on ‘Levelling Up in the Climate Crisis’ and a panel which will include:

  • Cllr Judy Pearce (Conservative), Leader of South Hams District Council 
  • Simon Oldridge: Sustainable South Hams
  • Phil Baker: Strategic Planning Specialist, Devon County Council
  • Professor Peter Connor: Local Heat Policy Specialist, Exeter University 
  • Joanne Williamson: Historic Building Surveyor, Climate Change Adaptation, Historic England

All members of the community can participate by emailing in advance for link and instructions. There will be live polls, community chat and opportunities for the community to post links, queries and questions for the panel. 

Further panel events over the two week COPnes26 event are scheduled as follows:

  • Friday, 5 November: ‘Democracy in a Climate Crisis: who’s really in control?’
  • Tuesday 9 November: ‘The Environment Bill: what it means for us.’    
  • Friday 12 November: ‘Sustainability and Fishing: where does the truth lie?’ (Anthony Mangnall (MP for Totnes) will be taking part in the discussion which will be looking at methods, practices and decarbonisation. It promises to be an interesting debate.)

To join – register at in advance for link and instructions.
All discussions start at 19:00 and will be held on Zoom

Other events during COPnes26 include:

The very first climate change film to be shown on British TV – ‘Prophets and Loss‘ will be shown in Totnes Cinema on 3 November 19:00 and will include a question and answer session with the director Nick Hart-Williams. Nick is a fascinating character. He was the first documentary commissioning editor for Channel 4 and is a world-renowned filmmaker.

In addition, every weekday during COPnes26, Totnes Cinema is showing updates from COP Glasgow and live link ups with Totnesians as they exercise their democratic rights to protest. Amnesty International will be joining one of the live panels for the discussion on ‘Democracy in the Climate Crisis’. 

The church community will be holding 24 hour vigils, as well as hosting a wide range of events focused on the spiritual and community dimensions to the environmental crisis. The church community have played a pivotal role in supporting COPnes26 reflecting their level of concern over the speed and scope of action to ensure that the most deprived areas of society and worldwide communities are at the forefront, rather than being left behind. 

Bristolian Jazz pianist Tim Funnell will close the event on the 14 November in St John’s Church at 18:30 (more details to come). Earlier that afternoon there will be a youth event to celebrate the second week of the festival. 

The novella in verse – ‘Brixham Chimes‘ – will be performed to live music and lights in St Mary’s Church, Totnes, on Saturday 13November at 18:30. Written by the film maker who made Sky Atlantic’s series ‘Fish Town’ all about Brixham, this book sets an apocalyptic story firmly in the Brixham area, and uses local landmarks to highlight the global environmental crisis. Drawing attention to issues around sustainability and plummeting biodiversity , the poem echoes the poetic traditions of Dylan Thomas’s ‘Under Milkwood‘ and Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. Recently released, it is now available on Amazon Kindle for Fire and tablets.

Please visit the church site, for full details of the church and community events.
Totnes has started its own Climate Change Response Centre. Details on this and COPnes events can be found here: