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Harjot Singh Kambo is one of an army of volunteers helping COP26 visitors find their way around. In the latest of a series of first-person accounts from the summit, he explains why the task is a very personal one for him.
I'm one of 1,000 COP26 volunteers scattered around Glasgow and Edinburgh. Today I did the morning shift from 07:30 to 10:30, standing at Buchanan Bus Station to welcome delegates from around the world.
They're coming from the train station or from their hotels, and we're getting them on the electric shuttle buses to the summit, making sure they're on time for their meetings.
PA MEDIAWhat's in it for us volunteers? It's a small way of helping to raise awareness about saving the planetHarjot Singh Kambo
Also, we're trying to get them orientated – do they have their accreditation? Do they have their vaccine passports, their lateral flow tests?
What's in it for us volunteers? Well, it's a small way of helping to raise awareness about saving the planet. Plus, I know the city well.
My grandparents came to Glasgow from the Punjab in India during the 1950s. After they arrived my grandfather worked on the buses and trams. He saved up enough money, got a flat in the west end of Glasgow, opened his own shop and raised a family.
My parents met in Glasgow and I was born and brought up here. I went to University of Strathclyde in the city – I graduated last year with a degree in biomedical engineering.
So it feels good to give something back to Glasgow. I took some time off from my job at a life sciences company to volunteer.
I've been talking to the bus drivers, just having a bit of banter. I'm sure my granddad would have done the same many years ago. It's bringing back memories of him because he just passed away last year.
Some of the delegates like to stop and have a wee chat about what they're here for, too. Especially the indigenous people from the US and Canada. You really get a sense of why COP26 is so important to them – as far as they're concerned they're representing their background, their family heritage here.
My Day at COP26:
- 'I was nervous. Breathe I said. I looked up to see Biden'
- 'My island home is threatened – we have no hill to run to'
- ‘My dog doesn't care if Biden is here’
- 'It's my job to keep the summit fed – sustainably'
During my first week, I met a lot of people from the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and Africa. You're trying to guess from their accents where everyone's come from.
You see all these ministers and government officials – I was quite intimidated by them at first. But today one of them gave me a wee fist-bump to show his appreciation. I think he was from Kyrgyzstan. That left me confounded for the next five minutes, in a good way.
There was a lady from Zambia. She was a bit flustered, it was dark and cold. And she didn't know where to go. So we took her indoors to get her some warmth, shared a wi-fi hotspot with her, she opened up Google Maps and we pointed her in the right direction.
It might be cold outside right now but we Glaswegians are warm inside.
As told to Jon Kelly
The COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow is seen as crucial if climate change is to be brought under control. Almost 200 countries are being asked for their plans to cut emissions, and it could lead to major changes to our everyday lives.
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