6 November 2021
The Herald

Ellie Harrison publishes a new edition of The Glasgow Effect for COP26

Ellie Harrison’s Creative Scotland-funded art project, The Glasgow Effect, sparked a furious debate about class, capitalism, art and education in 2016. The artist and activist had vowed to spend a full year refusing to travel beyond her home city limits, or using any vehicle except bikes.

Her book, The Glasgow Effect, followed in 2019 and now, Harrison has released a new edition, in time for the ongoing COP26 conference.

She says the summit can’t be allowed to become “just another PR exercise for Glasgow”, adding: “It should be a wake-up call and an opportunity to get our own house in order as the eyes of the world look on.”

She argues that the refocusing that occurred during the Covid-19 lockdowns created “a flourishing of local community activism”, and that the drop in global greenhouse gas emissions resulting from less travel meant that 2020 saw the largest reduction on record. “We need decreases like those seen in 2020, year-on-year-on-year until we reach net zero, instead of the economic impulse to ‘bounce back’ that is now well underway,” she says.

The author, who is involved in local projects and campaigns aimed at making Glasgow a more equal, sustainable and connected city, criticises the “expensive and dysfunctional public transport network” and “car-centric design of the city, along with the massive six-lane motorway cutting right through its centre”.

Her proposals for a sustainable city include a call for the “de-consumerisation” of society, the removal of the M8 through Glasgow and restoration of the Monkland Canal.

The Glasgow Effect: A Tale of Class, Capitalism & Carbon Footprint by Ellie Harrison is out now (Luath Press, £9.99)