Climate plans get a grilling
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12th September 2019
A range of Scottish businesses, charities and other organisations have announced they will be participating in the Global Climate Strikes on Friday 20 September. Organisations involved include ScottishPower, National Union of Students Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Children 1st and others. These protests could be the largest climate mobilisation in Scotland’s history with millions are expected to take part in events around the world.
These organisations have decided to support the strikes in a number of ways including: closing their offices; allowing staff to use time normally allocated for volunteering to join or steward the strikes; organising workplace climate conversations; and allowing staff to attend the protests in work time.
The Climate Strikes are the latest in a wave of inspirational climate action being spearheaded by children and young people. They began in August 2018 when 15 year old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis.
In Scotland, major marches are planned in Edinburgh and Glasgow with more rallies in Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Crieff, amongst other locations. People in 150 countries are expected to take part in these strikes where activities will range from protesting new fossil fuel infrastructure, raising awareness in their communities and pushing for solutions to the climate crisis.
Major energy supplier ScottishPower – who last year became the only integrated energy company to produce 100% renewable electricity – will be giving their staff the opportunity to support the march by stewarding the Glasgow event as a staff volunteering day.
Keith Anderson, ScottishPower CEO, said:
“The #FridaysforFuture movement has been incredibly influential in raising awareness of the climate emergency across the world. However, they can’t do this on their own, and nor should they. Responsibility for action does not fall on young people alone, we can all play an important role. ScottishPower is encouraging staff to use their annual volunteering time to help support the march by marshalling the route through Glasgow.
“As the UK’s first integrated energy utility to generate 100% of our power from renewables, we at ScottishPower are working hard to create a better future, quicker, by investing billions in generating more green electricity and building smart grids to help power the net zero future.”
Children 1st is supporting its staff to join the September 20th climate strike to raise awareness that the failure to address climate change is a fundamental breach of children’s rights.
Mary Glasgow, Children 1st‘s Chief Executive said,
“As Scotland’s National Children’s Charity we will be standing alongside children at climate protests around Scotland to amplify their cry for change and champion their most fundamental rights. Children have united across the world in an unprecedented movement to demand action on the climate crisis. It’s time governments at every level, as well as all of us as individuals, acted to uphold children’s rights to a clean, safe environment and to have their views listened to and respected.”
Campaigning organisations Friends of the Earth Scotland and Global Justice Now will be closing their offices on the day to participate in the protests.
Caroline Rance, Friends of the Earth Scotland Climate Campaigner commented,
“As a campaigning organisation, we understand the power of protest and recognise that people power is leading the way toward the climate solutions we need.
“Millions of school children across the world have been walking out of lessons every Friday to strike for climate action. The children are marching for their future. We’re proud to stand with them and urge everyone else who can to do the same.
Liz Murray, head of Scottish campaigns at Global Justice Now, commented,
“For millions of people around the world, climate change is a crisis which has already arrived. Those most affected by climate breakdown are in the global south – in the countries that are the least responsible for carbon emissions, and the most impoverished by colonialism and a global economy rigged against them.
“It’s going to take a mass movement to change that economic system. And we all have a responsibility to be part of that change. That’s why the global climate strike is such an important – and hopeful – moment.”
National Union of Students Scotland have written to the Scottish Government to seek assurances that there will be no academic, financial or other penalties applied to striking students. NUS Scotland President, Liam McCabe commented,
“To achieve climate justice, there needs to be urgent and fundamental reform from the Scottish and UK governments to meet the challenge of the climate emergency we face.
“We hope to see students across the country mobilise, take action and participate in the demonstrations. We have called on the Scottish Government to show their support for students to do just that, by ensuring they won’t be penalised – financially, academically or otherwise – for joining the strike.”
Edinburgh College’s Educational Institute of Scotland lecturers are allowing staff to participate on paid time, and holding meetings in advance to encourage staff and students to attend the march. Penny Gower, Edinburgh College EIS branch secretary commented,
“Lecturers educate the next generation, but if there is climate chaos and an uninhabitable world, then that generation has no future. We all need to unite and act now to stop this. Words are not enough. Instead of putting up rail prices and issuing more oil exploration licences there should be a move to keep oil and gas in the soil and free public transport.”
Keep Scotland Beautiful will also allow their staff to join the strike on paid time and hold a Big Climate Conversation for staff unable to join.
Catherine Gee, Operations Director of Keep Scotland Beautiful commented,
“Keep Scotland Beautiful has acknowledged the climate emergency and is fully committed to supporting all staff to amplify the call for urgent action and support the young people, who are following the global call from Greta Thunberg to strike from school. It is time now for us all to step up and show we are committed to taking action.”
Other organisations taking apart include international development charities, Christian Aid Scotland and SCIAF who are are allowing their staff to join the Climate Strike on work time. Storytelling PR agency, Transition Edinburgh, the 2050 Climate Group, Biofuelwatch and CoMo UK are also taking part.
UNISON Scotland is urging its branches to organise a day of action on climate change. Stephen Smellie, UNISON Scotland Depute Convener, said:
“We are encouraging branches across Scotland to hold 20 September Green UNISON Day activities with green workplace action on climate change.
“And we are sending solidarity to the inspiring school climate strikers who have done so much to raise the climate emergency to the top of the political agenda. Many branches and members will be attending climate strike rallies and a number have already offered practical support.”
Gus Jones, Convener of Badenoch & Strathspey Conservation Group who will be participating in a climate strike demonstration concluded,
“We are supporting the strikes because the dual climate and biodiversity crisis demands urgent action from everybody concerned with the future of life on earth.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Details of the Global Climate Strikes taking place on Friday 20th September. There are over 2,500 events registered in 117 countries. https://globalclimatestrike.net
Scottish Youth Climate Strike (SYCS) is a collective of passionate, determined, young people demanding climate justice from the Scottish Government. SYCS are organising school strikes and protests in cities all over Scotland. See the full list of events at https://www.sycs.org.uk/strike-locations/
ScottishPower are amongst the top 6 power companies in the UK. They generate 100% green electricity and provide energy to over 5 million households and businesses across the UK. https://www.scottishpower.co.uk
NUS Scotland represents around 500,000 students in Scotland through member college and university students’ associations. They work to promote, defend and extend the rights of students and to champion strong students’ associations. https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/nus-scotland/about-us
Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
Global Justice Now is a democratic social justice organisation working as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world. We mobilise people in the UK for change, and act in solidarity with those fighting injustice, particularly in the global south.
Children 1st is Scotland’s national children’s charity, working to prevent and protect children from harm and to support children and their families to recover from trauma and abuse. https://www.children1st.org.uk
CoMoUK supports shared transport solutions including car clubs and bike shares. https://como.org.uk/about
Green UNISON Day will take place on Friday 20 September https://unison-scotland.org/green-unison-day-20-september-we-must-act-on-the-climate-emergency/