Representatives of several eco-congregations met MSP’s at Holrood yesterday to urge further action to tackle climate change. The mass lobbying event was organised by Stop Climate Chaos Coalition Scotland, of which Eco-Congregation Scotland is a member.
Here is a video of the lobby:
Gordon Hudson of Eco-Congregation Scotland with Neil Findlay MSP and other constitituents:
The following article was written by Alison Boyes of Dunscore Parish Church who was at the event.
GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!
A sign on the Canongate wall next to the Scottish Parliament reads “Say but little and say it well”. This was my intention as I made my way to Holyrood to meet with MSPs on October 25th.
I was going as part of a Mass Lobby arranged by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of 60 organisations including Eco-Congregation Scotland.
The Scottish Climate Change Act was passed in 2009 and sets ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions. Unfortunately, the first annual target was missed and the Lobby was a way of telling MSPs that this is a matter of public concern. The next few months will see debates on Climate policy, public procurement reform and the budget, which are all opportunities for the Government to strengthen their policies on carbon emissions.
We are all represented by 8 MSPs, one constituency (Alex Ferguson for Galloway and West Dumfriesshire) and seven regional (South of Scotland) and I had emailed them all. Five had agreed to meet me at the Lobby. Only 60 places were available and 7 of these were allocated for constituents from the South of Scotland. I met with people who had travelled a lot further than I had – one woman who had come by bus from Campbelltown, and several from the Highlands and Islands region.
The MSPs were keen to talk, but also to listen. They were aware of local issues which needed to be addressed, such as better public transportation in rural areas, and energy inefficient housing. Everyone was telling them about those issues, but what was it that I had come to “say well”? I am not an expert on climate change, but I do have experience of working with Eco-Congregation, both nationally and in Dunscore, so this is what I decided to tell them about.
I told them about how churches worked not in isolation, but with their local communities and also as networks throughout Scotland. I described how we had been instructed to reduce our carbon footprint by 5% year on year ( our own version of the 2009 Act!). I said that in Dunscore we had widened this by considering the household footprints of our members and other local people on clock change day and I told them about the ways in which we provided information about energy saving, renewables, eco driving and local food. I emphasised the importance that we attached to campaigning and lobbying.
There is no doubt that the MSPs saw the potential for change that congregations can bring about, and indeed Claudia Beamish ( Shadow Environment and Climate Change) has put the Dunscore Carbon Footprint Day information on her website.
Politics can often seem remote and we feel powerless to influence Government policy. This Lobby showed me that it is important to speak to our representatives and tell them what matters to us. I feel proud to live in a country which has the strongest climate change legislation in the world. I just hope that the politicians Get Their Act Together and work to meet those ambitious targets.