Devon farmer spells SOS COP26 on sand

Stunt aimed to show visual support for climate change legislation and demand funding to keep temperatures from rising from the rural town of Bigbury in south Devon.

A Devon farmer helped a community spell out SOS COP26 to send a message to leaders meeting in Glasgow to discuss climate action and launch their own action plan.

John Tucker, who grows organic veg, cereals and raises lamb and beef with his daughter Cathy Case and supplies organic veg box company Riverford, drove his tractor onto the beach to spell out the message as the community gathered on the beach.

Held on the middle weekend of COP26, the climate talks taking place this fortnight, the stunt was designed to “create a visual display of their support for climate change legislation” and to demand the funding needed to keep the rise in temperatures below 1.5 degrees before 2030.

A message from the community of Bigbury to world leaders at COP26. 

A spokesperson for Bigbury Net Zero said: “By taking climate change personally, individuals will not only make a positive contribution to global efforts to reduce emissions but will inevitably improve their understanding of the big issues around climate change.

“The vast scale of the problem and the way in which all aspects of our lifestyles are contributing to climate change, means communities need to work together to make a difference big enough to have meaningful impact.”

John Tucker
John Tucker is known for driving inspirational messages in the sand at Bigbury. 

Around 500 people from families around the South Hams gathered on the beach and stood on the letters carved by Tucker, with their umbrellas unfurled, symbolising the increased winter rainfall expected due to climate change.

Speaking about her dad’s contribution to the event, farmer Cathy Case said: “Dad is no climate change warrior, however he is passionate about growing and linking people to where their food comes from. He’s seen so many eras of farming, but throughout all of them he’s been about the people that make it happen and growing food in the most efficient way.”

Bigbury is a rural town that fills with tourists in summer but has limited access to public transport or infrastructure for electric vehicles. Bigbury Net Zero plans to bring together people to host or invest in more local charging points and will be promoting car-sharing schemes.

It will also look into local food and producers, community composting, renewable energy and biodiversity.


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  1. We are faced with a serious dilemma: what is good for the environment is bad for the economy and vice versa. The best thing for the environment would for us to stop buying new consumer goods, to buy only that which is produced locally and to keep everything – cars, washing machines etc, – running as long as possible. Don’t mention tumble driers, leaf blowers, patio washers etc. However that is bad for the economy as nobody is buying new goods or using large amounts of energy.. The opposite is good for the economy and bad for the environment – replacing petrol cars with electric (think about the embedded costs), replacing a washing machine because the bearings have worn, the list is endless. We have decided to stick with the R’s – repair, re-use, repurpose, replace, recycle – but I fear we are in a minority

    1. We may be in a minority to start with but – the movement is growing. And seeing as so many of us can see that ‘the powers that be’ (our leaders and the corporations that keep the consumer world on the treadmill) failed to make any significant changes, ordinary people will start to take their own actions. And that will be the beginnings of the change that we need! We need every person to be conscious and to take care with every move they make. We DO have people power!! We make a difference by taking care with where we put our money. As you say – consume less; use the Rs; choose an ethical bank (Nationwide is good); and spread the word. Change does take time but – if we can reach a 25% tipping point – that will be huge! And, yes, WE ARE MANY!!!

  2. Well I hope it will cheer you and others to know we live the same way as you. Only I would be less black-and-white about the economy-if only (!) investors including colleges would get more skills training done and eco-trained plumbers, electricians etc out in the community. We have had a rainwater harvesting system put in but it was very difficult to get any plumbers to do the retrofit and connections involved. The ones who did do it had never done one before and struggled to master it. Our electrician had also never done one though he took quite an interest in it [submersible pump to connect and level-switch operated overflow system]
    Also I want Perovskite PV cells on our awkward-for-clumsy-silicone PV panels roof. But they are still not on the market apparently. And irritatingly the Oxford PV website says they are going to make them into ‘standard modules’. Someone needs to start making triangular panels for triangular roofs!


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