Climate week; our reflections
As Scotland’s Climate Week draws to a close, we reflect with hope and frustration. Hope because this week we have seen first-hand from young people, communities and businesses what great passion there is for change, to combat climate change and nature loss, and frustration because of some of the decisions that have been made at a UK level that seemingly deprioritise what we now know is one of the most significant challenges facing people and our planet this century.
At the beginning of the week, our Deputy Chief Executive Catherine Gee, wrote this blog, contemplating the impacts of the previous week’s announcements by the UK government to weaken some key net zero policies and targets.
During this week, it has been confirmed that a new, significant oil and gas development in the UK, off Scotland, has been given the green light. Disappointment, frustration, disbelief, sadness – these are just some of the words that we have used when reflecting on what these decisions and actions mean for those of us working so hard to help people understand the climate crisis and act on climate change. Where is the leadership, where is the courage, where is the commitment? We were heartened to see a joint letter from Scottish and Welsh Ministers pressing the UK Government for a new four nations summit on climate change and greater collaboration on Thursday. We know that our planet, our environment, our climate, our people and our nature should be a uniting factor rather than a dividing one?
It can be difficult to stay positive, but we must, and we will.
What we need, what the public desperately needs, is to see and hear what can be achieved, rather than what can’t be done (or what they are told can’t be done). We can certainly help with that, and it has been our aim during #ScotClimateWeek to celebrate this. Here are some positive examples of what can be done from what we’ve been doing as part of Scotland’s Climate week:
- Almost 5,000 young people and educators viewed our– Climate Action Schools live lessons on climate change this week, culminating with a live broadcast of the Live Lesson Assembly featuring Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero & Just Transition, Màiri McAllan MSP.
- Inspiring knowledge sharing took place during an online session focusing on Climate Action in Sport with 70 delegates listening to key speakers discuss the positive and productive decisions being taken in the sector following a key note address from Maree Todd, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport. You can watch this again here.
- We progressed further on our journey to net zero by delivering Climate Emergency Training to even more members of our own staff team, as well as hosting sessions for other organisations during the week including Scottish Power and Graham Group UK.
- Our team joined Fountainbridge Canalside Community Trust and Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero & Just Transition, Màiri McAllan MSP to explore how climate change was impacting built heritage assets and what could be done to conserve and protect it in the future.
- We also launched a Conscious Consumption Campaign alongside the Highland Waste Community Partnership to help people and businesses reduce the packaging they use everyday.
This is just a snapshot of positive, inspiring action that is being taken across Scotland by us and numerous other partners and organisations - all equally committed to helping Scotland in its efforts to reduce its climate change impacts and transition to net zero.
The frustrations of this week have made us ever more committed. Ultimately our life support system – planet earth and everything that it provides for us – will not stop changing and breaking down unless we fix it quickly. The short-term nature of political cycles and politicising of the environment and climate change has only put the continued functioning of our life support system in more jeopardy than it already is.
As we close off Climate Week, we conclude with Catherine’s reflections from earlier in the week:
"We will carry on despite the lack of UK political leadership and we will call for the environment to unite us rather than divide us, politically and socially. We will continue to be part of the global effort to make progress through our support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and we must remain hopeful and optimistic about COP28. We will encourage Scotland to maintain its leadership and ambition for net zero by 2045 and to ensure that this is backed up by credible, funded policies and plans that facilitate the achievement of a just transition. We will work to create a climate literate nation that understands the importance of looking after our planet and what they can do about it and the positive co-benefits of climate action. We will do that in a way that connects with all parts of society so that everyone can see how they can meaningfully and positively contribute in the joint effort to transition Scotland to a net zero nation."
We will continue to lead with hope and optimism to inspire environmental action.
Reach out if you would like to work with us to combat climate change or find out more about our work, our training and our campaigns.
29 September 2023