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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Irn Bru hunting and celebrity spotting at COP26


Forget Tinseltown, Manhattan or London’s Primrose Hill, over the last two weeks Glasgow has been the place to spot some of the world’s most famous celebrities.

Whether it’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez looking for Irn Bru, Barack Obama visiting the student union, or Leonardo DiCaprio dining out, COP26 has brought some of the world’s biggest names to Scotland.

In addition to adding a touch of glitz to the proceedings, the celebrities used their celebrity to draw attention to environmental causes close to their hearts.

Barack Obama

President Obama grabbed all the headlines with his summit speech on Monday, when he called on young people to “stay angry” in the fight against climate change.

He also emphasised the plight of island nations, which are already suffering as a result of the climate crisis. He described them as “in many ways the canary in the coal mine.”

He didn’t, however, avoid gaffes. He referred to being in the “Emerald Isles” and referred to Shakespeare as “the Bard” – in Scotland, that title is reserved for Robert Burns.

It had no effect on his reception when he later visited the University of Strathclyde. He was greeted warmly at the student union prior to a meeting with COP26 youth leaders. To commemorate the occasion, the union bestowed a lifetime membership on the former president.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted a photo of Ms Ocasio-Cortez with a can of Irn Bru

US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been chronicling her trip to Scotland on Instagram, set social media alight on Wednesday during her COP26 visit with an appeal to taste Irn Bru.

The Democrat – who is known as AOC – had attended an event on gender and the climate crisis with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

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In response to questions from social media followers, she stated that her schedule was “crammed,” but she hoped to see more of Scotland during her visit.

“I’d like to find some Irn Bru, feel some Harris Tweed, and see a castle,” she explained.

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, later tweeted a photo of herself and Ms Ocasio-Cortez, saying she now had a “supply” of the fizzy drink.

Irn-Bru was well received by the New York Representative, who said it reminded her of Kola Champagne, another “soda” popular in Latin America.

Leonardo DiCaprio

UN climate change representative Leonardo DiCaprio was involved in the COP26 summit

The Titanic actor and environmental activist is a United Nations climate change representative. During the first week of the conference, he visited the Kew Carbon Garden exhibit.

The night before, he was seen posing with film producer Paul Goodenough, founder of the charity Rewriting Extinction, at a fringe event. He also ate in the city’s popular Finnieston neighbourhood.

DiCaprio has donated millions of dollars to environmental organisations and backed ventures such as those that make natural-materials trainers.

The 46-year-old was recently photographed taking a commercial flight rather than a private jet. He is also thought to have flown to Scotland on a commercial airline.

Idris Elba

Actor Idris Elba wants to use his “big mouth” to amplify the conversation around climate change

The British actor serves as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (IFAD). He spoke at the COP26 summit last Saturday, admitting in his speech that he understands why “people might be a little irritated” by celebrities speaking out about climate change.

“One thing I’ve got is a big mouth,” said the star of the TV shows Luther and The Wire, as well as films such as Avengers: Infinity War and Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, of his ability to amplify the conversation about food supply and climate change.

The 49-year-old spoke about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the supply chain, particularly on families forced to queue for food due to food shortages.

Emma Watson

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At the New York Times Climate Hub, the 31-year-old Harry Potter star moderated a panel discussion with several climate change activists, including Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate.

She described the experience on her Instagram account: “I have no doubt that we witnessed a piece of history in Glasgow. I would have felt honoured to be in the presence of just one of these women (they are all actual superstars who are literally making the world a better place), but to be in their presence all at once was almost overwhelming.”

While in Glasgow, the actor participated in the book fairies movement by hiding books throughout the city. For the week-long Book Fairies event, she chose titles related to climate activism.

The Heart of Scotstoun community centre in the west end, where the “fairy” was photographed with staff, was one of the lucky places where she left several.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney and the Duke of Cornwall inspect her vegan football boots

Stella McCartney, the fashion designer, brought her vision of the future of fashion to Glasgow with a show at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Her mission is to make fashion more environmentally friendly.

McCartney has never used leather, feathers, skin, or fur in her designs, and she took Prince Charles on a tour of her exhibit, which featured the cutting-edge materials she is introducing to the fashion world.

Bolt Threads’ Mylo mycelium leather, Soktas’ regenerative cotton, and Econyl regenerated nylon sourced from waste and ocean plastics were among them.

The designer also displayed the world’s first vegan football boots, which she collaborated on with Paul Pogba and Adidas.

Ellie Goulding and Princess Eugenie

Ellie Goulding, a musician, spent the day in Glasgow with her friend and fellow activist Princess Eugenie.

Last year, the 34-year-old singer signed an open letter to the UK government calling for more women in decision-making positions at COP26.

The gender balance was described as “incomprehensible” in the letter, which was also signed by actress Emma Watson.

Goulding wrote on her Instagram account: “Our children and grandchildren should not have to inherit a broken planet because we failed to fix it when we had the chance! Let’s get started.”

Matt Damon

Matt Damon took part in discussions about his charity Water.org

Award-winning film Matt Damon did not travel to Glasgow in person, but instead participated in a panel discussion about water supply in developing countries from New York.

The 51-year-old is the co-founder of Water.org, a charity that provides clean water and sanitation to impoverished communities.

As a child, the actor travelled with his mother and witnessed firsthand extreme poverty in developing countries.

In 2006, he spent time with families in a Zambian village while filming a movie in Africa, and after seeing how they lacked access to water and toilets, he founded the H20 Africa Foundation to raise awareness about safe water initiatives on the continent.

Lily Cole

Lily Cole was seen at Saturday’s main climate change march in Glasgow

Supermodel, actor and activist Lily Cole was spotted at Glasgow Green on Saturday after about 100,000 people marched in the biggest protest of the climate summit.

She also hosted an event with indigenous communities which Prince Charles attended. Her focus is on helping indigenous people affected by climate change to have a voice.

The star has written a book, Who Cares Wins: How to Protect the Planet You Love and told BBC Women’s Hour that she was choosing to be optimistic because the data in the climate change situation is terrifying.

“I think there are so many solutions, policies, technologies, value systems, and wisdoms that we can tap into to find a way through, and only by focusing on solutions will we actually overcome the obstacles that we need to overcome,” she said.

The Beast

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Despite not having the star power of Obama or DiCaprio, TV chaser Mark ‘the Beast’ Labbett arrived in Glasgow during week one of COP26 to attend a pub quiz.

The Chase star was spotted at Central Station using a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation. He was not attending COP26 events, but he made the day of two British Transport Police officers from Nottingham in Glasgow to assist in keeping the city safe.

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