Argyll group presses for political climate change
Politicians are unlikely to neglect issues of an environmental nature – as long as Time for Change Argyll and Bute is there to offer the occasional prod, that is.
The group kept up momentum last month as members followed up a meeting with the region’s MP with a similar virtual discussion involving Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell.
A report earlier this year to the UK government by independent Climate Change Committee urged ministers to seize the opportunity to turn the Covid-19 crisis into a defining moment in the fight against climate change. The UK-wide Climate Coalition campaign group, however, wants to push that bit harder and urged supporters to lobby
MPs as part of The Time is Now campaign to put people, climate and nature at the heart of the UK’s recovery from coronavirus.
In Argyll, the ‘virtual’ meeting with Brendan O’Hara MP in early July was followed by a similar discussion between Time for Change Argyll and Bute and Mr Russell on August 19, with some 47 constituents joining in from places including Lochgilphead, Ardfern, Dunoon, Tighnabruaich, Iona, Tayvallich, Furnace and Oban.
One of the founders of Time for Change, alongside her brother Rowan, is 22-yearold Freya Aitchison from Tayvallich, who said: ‘We were really pleased that Michael Russell seemed to be as concerned as we are about the climate crisis and the issues it brings, and we will be continuing the conversation with him into the future, as we have been doing with Brendan O’Hara.
‘We started off by telling Mr Russell how worried we are about the big picture of the climate crisis, and set out our core demands as a group, which are:
❚Apply a Net-Zero Test to all decisions.
❚Support the most vulnerable and bring about a just transition.
❚Unleash ‘moonshot’ scale investment with urgency and ambition to match.
❚Recover and biodiversity.
❚Seek and support participation and human-centred democracy.
‘Our specific questions covered protect topics such as the shortterm nature of politics; the Wellbeing Economy; how the [Scottish Government’s] Just Transition Commission will lead to a final full stop on oil and gas extraction in Scotland; the importance of biodiversity in forestry and how we can protect our ancient woodlands while also planting new trees; the agri-environment scheme; and community renewable energy opportunities.’
Freya continued: ‘What we got out of it was that we should go to him with specific questions that he can take action on and he will help us. He definitely shared our concerns but felt constrained by the government at Westminster.
‘Brendan O’Hara has recently signed in support of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, which we are very excited about. We also plan to work more closely with the council as it reconvenes its Climate Change Environmental Action Group.’
Time for Change Argyll and Bute seems to be gaining popularity and will to be in regular contact with the area’s MP, MSPs and government at all levels.
A screenshot from the group’s Zoom call with Mr Russell.
Time for Change Argyll and Bute co-founder Freya Aitchison.