Up-cycling for Cop26

It’s been a busy few weeks at Ealing Repair Cafe. We have been busy up-cycling and creating for COP26: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021. an upcycled hi-vis vest into a bike flag and some sashes and armbands for volunteers with ActforEaling. So not had much time for mending in the last few weeks!

So what is COP26 & what does it mean?

Once a year, countries in the UN comes together to check progress and set new targets in the fight against climate change. This important meeting is known as the Conference of the Parties, or COP for short and was delayed for a year so a review is getting urgent and Cop26 is crucial in setting global objectives and the world combat climate change together. Find out more COP26

COP 26: UN climate change conference UK 2021

Upcycled Bike Flag

My first upcycled project was from a high-vis vest to make flag for a bike that went from Hanwell to Glasgow for #Cop26. TwigletCycles did a amazing trip of cycling all the way to Glasgow with my flag right behind her. Active travel is part of the solution to climate change and we need governments to invest in local infrastructure to encourage it.

ActforEaling Upcycled Sashes and Armbands

I have also been crafting for ActforEaling, the eco hub for Ealing, who I made upcycled Sashes and armbands which appeared at our COP26 stall for a day in Glasgow. The aim of this community group, created by Ealing residents, is to boost local action to combat climate change and restore biodiversity with the support of the council.

Team wearing ActforEaling sashes and armbands

These sashes and armbands are made out of a rescued tent from Reading Festival that was passed onto me through a Facebook group devoted to fabric up-cycling.

Rather than buy new, it was lovely to use something that was no longer fit for purpose. (The material had to be washed as was muddy and so unlikely to be waterproof as a tent. ) With the remaining material, I might try to make some reusable bags. I have another bag, bought back in 2009 at Glastonbury festival made from another rescued Reading tent!

I might not got to Cop26 in person but my craft was there to represent me

Festival Tent Rescue and waste

The story behind my tent material that was rescued at Reading Festival is also very moving. Many festivals have issues in addresses the waste and mess left behind and Reading is no exception. I have volunteered at festivals and seen the abandoned fields of wastelands after a festival so Helens story is not unique.

Helen volunteered to help tent scavenge with Herts For Refugees at the Reading Festival site:

“Even though we got to salvage between 2000 and 2500 tents for refugees in Calais and Dunkerque, and a great number of sleeping bags, the main feeling of everyone concerned is – WTF?!”

“The sheer waste, of so much stuff going into landfill, is absolutely obscene.”

Reading Festival 2021 Field after the crowds have left

Only a few dozen salvagers were on-site as far as I know, and we barely scratched the surface.

Most of the tents that are abandoned get bulldozed and sent to landfill, in spite of what seems to be a prevalent myth that ‘they all get taken by charities’. Nope! Only a fraction.

Helen concludes festivals:
“need to start taking sustainability seriously, instead of the feeble window-dressing they indulge in at the moment. They have a sustainability and outreach department, but you’d hardly know it. I would not call the present situation acceptable, not at all.”

To read Helens full account here in her facebook post.

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