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GOALS OF COP26

Wild salmon are a majestic symbol and indicator of the health of our rivers, land, and oceans. They range across nearly half the planet. But climate change and other human impacts are driving them towards extinction. Investing in community-driven approaches to save wild salmon will help us limit global warming to 1.5°C and help communities adapt to near-term climate change. Salmon School embodies the local work on river systems worldwide to restore salmon and the cold, clean water they need—from the River Clyde in Glasgow to the outermost reaches of the Arctic.

Here is how safeguarding salmon can help achieve the four goals outlined in the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26).

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HOW SALMON WATERSHEDS CAN HELP ACHIEVE NET ZERO

GOAL 1: (SECURE GLOBAL NET ZERO BY MID-CENTURY AND KEEP 1.5 DEGREES WITHIN REACH.)

Wild salmon serve as the keystone species driving ecosystem function across hundreds of millions of hectares of forests and wetlands in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Arctic. And these salmon watersheds are hugely important in the drive for a net zero global carbon balance. The 18 most important salmon watersheds in the North Pacific store an estimated 6 billion tons of carbon and counting–more than three times the annual emissions of the United States. By accelerating the locally-led protection and restoration of these rivers, we can mitigate climate change and boost salmon runs that are so important to communities on the ground.

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SECURING COLD, CLEAN WATER TO HELP PEOPLE AND WILDLIFE ADAPT

GOAL 2: (ADAPT TO PROTECT COMMUNITIES AND NATURAL HABITATS.)

As temperatures rise, wild salmon populations and the communities that depend on them are under increasing threat. Local and regional organizations are rapidly deploying adaptation measures to prevent salmon from going extinct—including streamside forest restoration, removal of dams and other barriers, and improved protocols for industries like agriculture and forestry. The most important outcome of all this work is further protection for cold, clean water–which is fundamental for the survival and climate adaptation of fish, wildlife, and people.

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ACCELERATE PROVEN WORK IN THE SALMON SECTOR

GOAL 3: (MOBILISE FINANCE)

Salmon School inspires the delegates to be “bold, brave and brilliant” in achieving climate goals. Governments, corporations, and philanthropic organisations must rise to the challenge of developing financial models that will enable societal change, addressing the structural problems that create the climate crisis. Local and regional wild salmon organizations have a proven track record of getting protection and restoration work done, including the protection of cold, clean water and natural carbon sinks. Now, for the sake of local communities and global climate stability, the salmon alliance needs a new level of international financial commitment to accelerate its work.

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A GLOBAL ALLIANCE UNITED AROUND ONE MISSION

GOAL 4: (WORK TOGETHER)

Salmon School is a human ecosystem made up of diverse stakeholders—scientists, artists, politicians, advocates, Indigenous peoples, NGOs, and communities—working to ensure that wild salmon and the rivers they call home are here for many generations to come. The installation is sourced from artisans from four continents, and more than three dozen community, scientific, and conservation organizations that have come together–many for the first time—as part of the School partnership. This collaboration mirrors the collective, grassroots-driven approach that the world must take to combat climate change and achieve the goals of COP26. Climate change knows no boundaries, and neither do salmon. Everyone has a stake in salmon health because they are the embodiment of healthy rivers and oceans. The energy behind School reflects both the urgency and the hope of this moment on Earth.

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JOIN THE SCHOOL

Salmon School is a unique human ecosystem made up of diverse stakeholders all working in concert to ensure wild salmon and the rivers they call home are here and healthy for generations to come. We’re actively seeking politicians, philanthropists, NGOs, educators, and Indigenous people concerned about our salmon to join Salmon School and help us advance this important work. 

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