This week our blog highlilghts the work of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland who are campaigning for an ambitious climate change bill for Scotland. Last year, in a show of strong public feeling to tackle climate change, 19,000 people in Scotland emailed the Scottish Government calling for a strong climate change bill, however, there is still much to do.
"Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years."
Pope Francis’ words in Laudato si’ are given alongside encouragement to us all to be more conscious of how we care for our shared environment, acknowledging the scientific consensus of humankind's responsibility for climate change.
When we see our responsibility for a problem, we should in turn look to hear those feeling the consequences most severely when deciding how to tackle it. I’ve been lucky to do this recently for Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) through our “100 Voices” campaign, bringing together images and testimonies of people from across every inhabited continent in the world.
These voices highlight the impacts of climate change being felt by vulnerable people and communities from farmers in Africa, communities in Asia, indigenous Arctic groups and Pacific Islanders. They share a common message calling for Scotland to set a net zero emissions target by 2050 at the latest, to do our fair share in protecting the planet.
One of the testimonies comes from Stella-Miria Robinson, a Papua New Guinean Australian who shares her fears from her experience of climate change as a Roving Ambassador for the Pacific Islands Council of Queensland:
“We stand to lose our homes, lose our countries, lose our identities as distinct Peoples of the Planet. We do not want to be passport holders of countries that have disappeared.”
For many facing the consequences, the injustice is compounded as those most vulnerable areas have contributed the least to climate change. Gertrude Hamooya is a farmer from Zambia cultivating mainly maize and groundnuts, she outlined the reality faced everyday:
“Our lives have become harder as farmers due to climate change. Most of us won't even harvest anything this year because of the rains coming at the wrong time of the year.”
The 100 Voices sharing their story have a shared concern that countries are not taking their responsibility to people and the environment seriously enough. When the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, countries agreed to limit global temperature rises to well below 2 degrees and to pursue efforts to limit this to 1.5 degrees. Right now, the Scottish Government is preparing a new Climate Bill to outline the targets and policies Scotland will take forward to meet the those Paris Agreement commitments.
In the consultation phase of the Bill in 2017, over 19,000 people in Scotland supported our campaign for the Bill to set targets of net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and policy measures for right now which could help us get there. Through the Act for our Future campaign
, we are bringing people together to show the Scottish Government the public support for more ambitious action on emissions.
With a series of Climate Action Workshops happening soon
, we will be reaching out across Scotland to meet other people passionate about climate change, share knowledge and plan action on the Bill.
When the Scottish Government releases its new climate legislation later this year, we will see what our collective effort will be in tackling climate change. For the most vulnerable on our common home, including the 100 Voices we are sharing this month, committing to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest will help deliver the justice they deserve.