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Climate strikes: what now?

This opinion piece is over 4 years old

Aoife Hutton, climate change officer for Keep Scotland Beautiful, on the importance of the recent climate strike protests

I want to tell you about 20 September, the weeks leading up to that date and what it means for the future.

On 20 September, the largest climate change protest in history took place in every continent of the world. Even Antarctica! The reason? Climate change is hurtling towards a point of no return.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said, in no uncertain terms, that to limit the most catastrophic effects of climate change we need “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

The message is clear, we all need to step up our efforts

Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful has worked in the climate landscape for over a decade. Yet 20 September tipped a new point as we made the decision to grant staff a day to support the climate strikes, or to continue the charity's work to help make Scotland clean, green and sustainable.

Businesses and organisations across Scotland also supported the strike. The message is clear, we all need to step up our efforts, the time to wait has long passed.

Staff attended strikes in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Dundee. On the train to Edinburgh I noticed an energy, a positivity that can feel absent at times in the face of environmental injustice.

Estimates place numbers at the Edinburgh strike as up to 20,000. Most of the crowd were children and young people. They were energetic, creative, ambitious, honest and unapologetically demanding a different path for Scotland.

The Scottish Climate Bill commits us to a target of net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. And public attitudes are changing: 80% of the UK public are now “fairly concerned” or “very concerned” about climate change.

We have a huge opportunity to turn that concern into action.

It's clear that the future will be low carbon, the risks are too great, and the opportunities too many, for it to be otherwise.

Aoife Hutton is climate change officer for Keep Scotland Beautiful.

What can you do now?

To help organisations, businesses and individuals to start their journey into the low-carbon world Keep Scotland Beautiful offers bespoke Carbon Literacy training:

* Get up to speed with the science behind climate change, its impacts and efforts to tackle it; build your confidence to speak about climate

* Identify ways you and your organisation can reduce carbon emissions.

* Find out how being a Carbon Literate Organisation and having a Carbon Literate workforce can benefit your business.

T: 01786 471333

E: [email protected]



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