“I’m travelling the length of the UK to get to the next climate change conference, COP26, where world leaders will discuss the future of life on earth. Along the way, I’ll share stories of people who are on the frontlines of climate change.”
Jack Harries, 28, filmmaker and activist, has talked with farmers and firefighters, inventors and activists. People whose voices need to be heard at the global climate conference. People in colder countries, where the ice around them is melting and in warmer countries where the forests are on fire.
Jack’s journey, with voices from around the UK and world, have been captured in Seat at the Table, his 11-part documentary series for YouTube Originals. Jack’s YouTube channel has more than 3.7 million subscribers.
The introductory episode of Seat at the Table also includes Sir David Attenborough, who points out the injustice as the poorest in the world suffer the most from climate change impact. Sir David believes that if we don’t act, “whole areas of the world could become uninhabitable”.
Seat at the Table is a project Starling is proud to sponsor. We’re a branchless, digital bank and we run all four of our offices on renewable energy. We provide new customers with debit cards made from recycled plastic and we’re determined to play our part in protecting the environment and fighting climate change.
Stories from the frontline of climate change
Jack travelled from the Isles of Scilly (the most southerly part of the UK and threatened by rising sea levels), over to Brighton, through Cumbria and up to Glasgow to the climate change conference, COP26. He travelled by boat, bike and train to minimise his carbon footprint. Along the way, he spoke to people from all over the world, through video, from India and Cambodia to South Africa and Morocco.
In episode one, we meet Chhum Shim, a Cambodian rice farmer impacted by weather patterns altered by climate change. To pay back the loan she took out for her farm, she and her family left their home in the countryside to work in a brick kiln in the capital. She, like many others, is a climate migrant.
Later in the series, we meet Mareike Harzem, whose home in Germany was ruined by devastating floods earlier this year (180 died in the floods). In low islands like the Maldives, it’s believed that rising ocean levels may cause some islands to completely disappear in 10 years, if nothing is done
In Cumbria, one of the wettest places in the UK, Jack hears from firefighter Conrad Leather, who combats the increasing number of wildfires there. From South Africa, we see the raging wildfires in Cape Town and meet Sharne Martiz, member of Juliette Crew, an all-woman team of firefighters.
Giving back to grassroots organisations
Carbon emissions from Seat at the Table have been offset by schemes including work to restore coral reefs in the Maldives and Trees4Goals, founded by Kenyan footballer Lesein Mutunkei. For every goal he scores, 17-year-old Lesein plants 11 trees.
Sharing the power of technology
Jack highlights a number of innovative environmental solutions with technology at their heart. He travels to Silverstone motor racing circuit, where a team retrofits vehicles to run on electricity. At the moment it’s vintage cars, but they hope the approach could be applied to industrial trucks, which could reduce air pollution around roads. In Orkney, he learns about an industry growing up around tidal power, providing electricity to isolated communities.
Starling is supporting Seat at the Table to help raise awareness on the challenges of climate change. We believe technology is a powerful tool, both for developing solutions and raising awareness.
Jack Harries will show Seat at the Table to more than 200 global leaders at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow. The series is available to watch online, on YouTube.
As Jack says, “There’s never been a more important time to take action. Our futures are literally being decided behind those walls.”