Queen Elizabeth II, unable to make it in person due to her doctor’s advice that she rest, pre-recorded a video for the COP26 U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland urging world leaders to “rise above the politics of the moment” and address climate change with urgency. Wearing a green dress and a butterfly pin, the 95-year-old monarch addressed presidents and prime ministers during a welcoming reception invoking her “more than 70 years” of experience meeting “many of the world’s greatest leaders.” Inexplicably but sweetly, a framed photo of what looks like a gaggle of butterflies in flight is situated behind her.
The purpose of the summit is to “accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change,” and brings together more than 120 leaders for a couple weeks of discussion about action needed to mitigate the disastrous effects of global warming. Fellow geriatric and voice of natural history documentaries David Attenborough spoke at the conference IRL, powerfully acknowledging, “In my lifetime I have witnessed a terrible decline.” Attenborough is the comforting British voice behind those incredible nature shots on BBC’S documentary series that everyone loves to watch while high, Planet Earth, and was unfortunately at one point seated next to maskless buffoon Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the U.K., who unhelpfully joined other world leaders Sunday in tossing coins into a Roman fountain for good luck stopping the world from burning.
Of course, on the other end of the human life-cycle, the now 18-year old activist Greta Thunberg attended the conference as well to excoriate talking-head politicians with their “blah blah blah” and no action. She’s correct as usual.
Both of the venerable Brits made it clear their climate concerns weren’t for themselves. The queen noted, “None of us will live forever. We are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children and those who will follow in their footsteps.” And Attenborough, for his part, said, “The people alive now are the generation to come, will look at this conference and consider one thing: did that number [the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere] stop rising and start to drop as a result of commitments made here?” Fingers crossed for humanity.