Mon 23 Sep, 2019

Ross Greer MSP

West of Scotland
External Affairs, Education & Skills, Culture & Media


I’ve been ‘doing politics’ for a decade now but I’m clinging to the label of ‘young person’. Like the thousands of young people who took to the streets on Friday, I’ve come to realise that my adult life will now be defined by a series of overlapping crises caused by climate breakdown.

This year alone we’ve seen the Amazon burn, wildfires in the Arctic, hurricanes, flooding and the mass displacement of people.

The climate crisis is already a major contributor towards conflicts across the planet. Resources are only becoming scarcer, while the same companies and individuals whose actions caused this crisis continue to rake in billions.

Climate strikers can see that even here the price of food, fuel and other essentials will keep going up and ordinary people will suffer for it.

No wonder they’re taking to the streets.

If you listen to what young people are actually demanding of governments, it isn’t ‘please make your 30-year zero-emissions targets a little stronger’ or ‘please pour more money into speculative, non-functioning technology like carbon capture and storage’.

Climate strikers know that banning plastic straws or switching to energy efficient lightbulbs won’t save the world and secure their future. They are demanding radical action. Now. They know we need system change.

Greta Thunberg spoke for billions when she told the US Congress last week: “You’re not trying hard enough.” The same is true of both Scottish & UK governments.

Greta’s written evidence was the landmark IPCC report, published last year, which gives governments only a decade to slow global warming. A decade. A sixteen-year old taking part in Friday’s climate strike will be only in their mid-twenties when that final deadline comes around.

If they study hard and gain skills and expertise in climate science or engineering, they will be graduating too late to make that difference. If they go into elected politics, even as early as I did, they will do so long after the time for gradual change passed.

That is why they are taking to the streets now. They can’t afford to wait.

But climate breakdown is written into our economics, which is why we need a Scottish Green New Deal to rip up that failed system.

We need to rip up the old economic rule book to create jobs, integrate public transport, reforest Scotland and give everyone a warm and secure home. This would dramatically cut emissions and secure a future for all of us. It would be the kind of response our young people are demanding of us.

Get involved

More like this

Bombs factory funded by Scottish Government

Fri 6 Dec, 2019

A factory to make munitions has been partly funded by the Scottish Government through its agency Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Greens have revealed. This is despite the First Minister’s repeated insistence that the Scottish Government ‘does not fund the manufacture of munitions’.

FOIs by the Scottish Greens revealed that in 2009, Chemring Energetics successfully applied for Scottish Enterprise funding to invest in site expansion to, in their own words, “take advantage of market moves that have resulted in gaps in the manufacture of explosives".

UCU strike reveals SNP poor record on industrial relations

Wed 27 Nov, 2019

The Scottish Government’s response to the UCU strike has revealed its poor record at industrial relations, the Scottish Greens have said.

Scottish Green education spokesperson Ross Greer today called on universities minister Richard Lochhead to respond to the strikes, who described them as “unwelcome”.

Scottish Greens welcome NUS Scotland manifesto

Thu 7 Nov, 2019

The Scottish Greens have welcomed the NUS Scotland ‘When Students Lead’ manifesto for the general election.

Commenting on its publication, Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer said: Whether through their climate activism or opposition to Brexit young people are leading the debate in Scotland, and the NUS manifesto is a clear example of that.