The Sun Sets on Egypt: A Climate Leader’s Journey with Regenerative Retreats at COP27

Written byBrittany DeGirolamo
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The 27th annual UN Climate Summit—known as COP27—concluded this past Friday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. World leaders converged on the Red Sea resort to discuss increasingly dire natural disasters, the war in Ukraine, climate reparations, and how best to accelerate the transition to net zero.

Working in climate can be exhausting; the power and collaboration between members of the climate community is crucial to moving us all forward. This year after attending other climate conferences, we recognized the need for eco-preneurs to intentionally take space to regenerate our minds so we can continue our work to regenerate our planet. 

The climate clock is ticking and the sense of urgency we feel working in this field is imminent. Those who are working to fight climate change along with those who are living with the negative impacts in their backyard are dealing with increasing amounts of climate anxiety everyday as we inch closer to 1.5 degrees celsius. We created Regenerative Retreats with the intention to connect climate leaders to immersive and authentic experiences in partnership with hotels and destinations rooted in local culture so they have a opportunity to reflect on their work and recharge to move forward.

During our inaugural retreat in Egypt post-COP27 at Basata Eco-Lodge, a 2 hours drive from Sharm El Sheikh, we explored the four major themes of the conference as well as what is needed in order for climate entrepreneurs to have the stamina to continue in our fight against climate change. Retreat activities included daily sunrise meditation and breath work, snorkeling, hiking and fireside conversations on our COP27 experience, reactions and insights.
  • Loss and Damage – The urgent need for a new fund to help countries deal with the immediate impacts of climate change. Rich countries have resisted this discussion for 30 years, fearing that since they played a major role in causing climate change, they will have to pay for it for centuries to come.
  • Phasing Out vs. Phasing Down Fossil Fuels – Richer countries wanted to phase out the use of the most polluting fossil fuel. Larger developing economies including India and China did not. They settled on “phasing down” rather than “phasing out”.
  • Keep 1.5 Alive – A rise of 1.5C is viewed by scientists as the threshold to very dangerous levels of warming – but there has been considerable worry here that the commitment to the idea would be watered down, especially as India and China were concerned it was no longer scientifically feasible.
  • US & China – The lack of cooperation between the world’s two largest carbon emitters is hampering the UN climate process and preventing other countries from around the world to move their climate commitments forward. 
Attendee insights and tactics that we’re discussed during our inaugural retreat to make future COPs more productive included:

1) Be Vulnerable – As individuals and organizations be open and vulnerable about what you need to make your COP a success within your community. Support each other with tips and resources on the ground, form Whatsapp groups for quick FAQ’s and check-in on those who you know may be struggling.

2) Form A Planning Committee For Host Countries – Form special committees to support the host country as they plan logistics around hosting the conference to ensure they do so sustainably. 

3) Advocate For A Human Rights Code of Conduct – Require for the host country to abide by human rights policies and standards with an enforced conflict of interest policy for fossil fuel companies

By the end of the weekend, COP ministers and negotiators who have endured sleepless nights and endless days in an intense series of negotiations finally reached a historical $100 billion deal for loss and damages in developing countries. However the COP26 President has stated that the failure to reach an international agreement to phase-down or phase-out all fossil fuels, not just coal, is disappointing. Progress here was blocked by petro-states including Saudi Arabia, who also would not have renewables mentioned as a solution without talk of man-made carbon capture as an alternative.

In better news, the final agreement does now include a section on forests which, unlike the COP26 documents, makes specific reference to nature-based climate solutions. Parties are “encouraged, as appropriate, to consider nature-based solutions or ecosystem-based approaches” in their climate adaptation and social sustainability plans. 

Moving forward all eyes are on Dubai with the next COP being held in the UAE (one of the world’s largest oil producers), climate sector and environmental campaigners are fearful about the outlook for progress in 2023.

For the launch of Regenerative Retreats we’ve planned five destinations each to be be paired with key climate solutions and issues. Every retreat will bring in thought leaders and experts to intimately work with and support the people who are supporting our planet. Themes will include a focus on Climate Activism and Storytelling, Sustainable Tourism, Regenerative Agriculture, Circular Economy  and Marine Conservation. 

Future Regenerative Retreats destinations include: 

Negril, Jamaica – May 2023

Upstate New York, NY – September 2023  {Post Climate Week Retreat}

+ More to be announced

Photos by: Tomás Delft
To learn more about sponsorship or programming integration opportunities, email [email protected].

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