Why we support the Global Climate Strike

Climate breakdown threatens Scotland’s natural environment and our way of life.

Many Scottish Wildlife Trust staff, members, and Young Leaders will be attending strikes throughout Scotland today. We strongly encourage you to find your local march and stand up for Scotland’s, and the planet’s, nature – our life-support system.

We can already see the impacts of climate change in Scotland. We also know that our fragmented landscapes make adapting to this change significantly harder for wildlife. We aren’t ready for the changes already occurring, and, as a society, we aren’t taking the necessary action to prevent even more devastating change.

The Global Climate Strike marching down Royal Mile, Edinburgh © Jess Browning

Around the world, though, the picture is even darker; pierced by flashes of resistance by local communities, activists, and leaders who meet the emergency with action. In many places, they risk their lives to do so.  Many areas and people most at risk from the climate crisis, have contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions but have the fewest resources to mitigate or adapt. The Red Cross is already warning that two million every week need humanitarian aid as a direct result of climate change.

The human, environmental, and economic costs of doing nothing are spiralling.

Like these communities in the most exposed areas, younger generations have contributed the least to the crisis, yet stand to lose the most and have the least representation. It is their futures we imperil when we delay action, ignore evidence, or fail to protect nature.

Tackling the climate crisis means confronting complex interwoven issues like access to justice, representation, and fairness. High-level agendas like the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement try to embed these issues because they are central to any solution. Yet it falls to society to express solidarity and to hold governments and institutions to account.

In Scotland, concern about this global environmental change is mounting. The asymmetry between the scale of the crisis and what we seem able to do can cause people to become anxious and freeze.

Elsewhere, it inspires action: those of Extinction Rebellion has helped to convince governments, including the Scottish Government, to declare an emergency; helped ensure we committed to a net-zero target; and helped citizens’ assemblies to become part of the wider discussion.

Now we’ve declared an emergency, it’s time to act on it.

What is the Scottish Wildlife Trust doing?

In 2020 Glasgow will host the next United Nations climate conference, COP26. This will bring tens of thousands of people from nearly 200 countries to Scotland with one key question: We were promised action, so why have things got worse as we’ve become more aware of the problem?

Scotland and the UK will be under the spotlight and eager to show action. Words will be insufficient for 26 years of under-performance.

Healthy natural environments like forests, peatlands, and grasslands, are a vital store of carbon. Even in cities there is huge space and potential for nature to do this. Increasing the health of our ecosystems, including those in urban areas, can increase this carbon storage, and help build resilience against change, such as coastal erosion. At the same time, we build greener spaces and contend with the second global crisis: biodiversity loss.

Bogbean growing in pool on peatland at dawn © Mark Hamblin/2020VISION
Restoring peatlands would help to contribute towards achieving net-zero emissions. © Mark Hamblin, 2020VISION

But we also need to be clear: every industry must quickly decarbonise. Natural climate solutions can help store the remainder of emissions that are intrinsic to, for example, cultivating crops, and help pull already released carbon out of the atmosphere. To do this, they can’t simply offset fossil fuel emissions – both radical reduction and natural solutions are necessary.

Over the next year, we’ll be working to ensure the importance of healthy, connected ecosystems is central to these and future talks. We look forward to the involvement of local communities in realising a future in which our land, towns, and cities can help in the fight against climate change.

Right now, we need you to make sure your voice, and that of Scotland’s nature, is heard.

Find your nearest climate strike at globalclimatestrike.net/

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Climate breakdown threatens Scotland’s natural environment and our way of life. Many Scottish Wildlife Trust staff, members, and Young Leaders will be attending strikes throughout Scotland today. We strongly encourage …

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