We are witnessing the shock waves of war in Europe as energy and food supplies have been affected. We live in a cost-of-living crisis. We are approaching a point of no return as the crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are deepening, creating the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.
It is interesting to see all of these serious threats manifest in the political arena, the media, and the conversations around us. It seems that priorities are changing again. What was the focus last year has already slipped back down the list.
There is no doubt that it can be difficult to prioritize our environment when we hear about the horrific events in Ukraine. It’s hard to deal with people who are struggling because the prices of the basics are going up. But we also have a great opportunity.
Perhaps there has never been a better time than now to talk about climate change, advance environmental action and take action that will help our planet, our people and their pockets.
Climate-friendly policy can save us, our business, and our government’s money. Until we have strong policies that individually take climate action, we will need to strengthen.
Since the United Nations Conference of the Parties, or COP26, we have put hundreds of people through training in climate emergencies, and in partnership with the Carbon Literacy Project, many have been certified as Carbon Knowledge – Choosing personal and collective action to reduce carbon emissions – Driving individual and collective change across country.
Those of us who have worked in the environmental sector for a while know the mantra – lower your heating, drive less, and eat more local and seasonal produce. But it’s clear that not everyone has linked these climate measures to help our budgets as well.
As we head into Climate Week in Scotland, we have a chance to make the messages really come home.
It’s our chance to let people know there is hope – really small, simple actions can make an impact, not just locally, helping us get through the next long, difficult winter, but globally.
During #ScotClimateWeek, we engaged and supported businesses, communities and individuals to make sure they know what they can do at home, at work and in their neighborhoods to combat the climate crisis.
We have reached over 15,000 children and youth through our live lessons broadcast in primary and secondary schools to empower them to take action and have been inspired by their ideas and commitment to tackling climate change.
We celebrated the success of community action by publishing our report on the Climate Festival in Scotland – which highlighted that 45 per cent of groups that held the events were new to climate action.
We ran a free online workshop on the climate emergency and provided training to organizations and hundreds of people who we hope can now take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Our climate emergency training will continue to be central to what we do, as we aim to reach more organizations, companies, youth and individuals to break myths and make real work possible.
Now is the time for us to step up our support for environmental action. If we really, as a country want to go Zero Zero by 2045, we all need to have conversations, sign up for training, and make sure we’re ready to take action to combat climate change.
We need to do it now, with or without much-needed political support, to lead a green, just and ambitious recovery from the challenges we all face.
Catherine Gee, Executive Vice President, Keep the Beauty of Scotland