The extraordinary climate jamboree of COP26 closed this week.

With its political rhetoric, jet-set glitterati, and models of immense planetary change, there’s a lot to take in.

COP26 is organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the parent treaty of both the 2015 Paris Agreement and the original 1997 Kyoto Protocol.Isle of Wight County Press:

The Isle of Wight's precious landscape needs our help to protect it.

All three seek to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally.

But this is now a truly colossal task, requiring the synthesis of urgent local, grassroots actions with rapid regional, national and international response every bit as determined as the battle against Covid.

It is understandable then to feel utterly overwhelmed, but this too readily twists into the belief that climate change is the problem of people who aren’t us, who are far away and out of reach.

And yet the Isle of Wight is intimately connected to international efforts to adapt and mitigate through its membership of the family of UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves, set up within the UN to safeguard cultural and biological diversity across a network of 727 sites in 131 countries.

We are an island, our communities are coastal communities, with all the accompanying fragilities and stresses; we face fundamental changes to our own geography as sea levels rise and storm events increase; all of this we have in common with biosphere communities around the world.

Like them, we are working to deliver landscape-scale interventions for increased tree cover, natural grassland restoration, wetland and peatland conservation, and the recovery of saltmarsh, kelp and seagrass in our marine habitats, ways to better sequester carbon and, crucially, to stop emitting it in the first place.

The Isle of Wight’s biosphere status opens access to the lessons learned in places where climate impact is already critical, but also gives us the opportunity to share in the common endeavour to find better ways to live sustainably.

Being a UNESCO World Biosphere hardwires the Isle of Wight into the work of the United Nations and will strengthen all our resolve to do what we know must be done.