The English poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

These words resonated on Nov. 8 as I listened to a presentation by Chantel Comardelle, tribal executive secretary of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe.

The climate challenges of Isle de Jean Charles are familiar to Louisianans. But yesterday it reached a global audience through an event played directly to world leaders in Glasgow for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference — COP26. The event, organized by the British Consulate in Houston, highlighted the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities around the U.S.

Spotlighting those who lack a voice on climate change is a priority for the United Kingdom government through its presidency of COP26. Not only are indigenous peoples stewards of 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity, but 80% of people displaced by natural disasters are women and children.

The UK was delighted by Gov. John Bel Edwards’ announcement that Louisiana is joining the UN Race to Zero — Monday’s event made clear why this is so essential. As Donne’s poem concludes “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

RICHARD HYDE

Her Majesty’s consul-general

Houston