An open letter from Ross Greer MSP to Scotland's school leaders.
The ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’ movement will culminate in a day of school strikes across the UK, from Truro to Ullapool on Friday 15 February. The strikes are inspired by the actions of Greta Thunberg in Sweden, which have already resulted in up to 75,000 schoolchildren in 270 towns and cities across Europe taking part in ‘Fridays for our Future’. A further global strike is anticipated on 15 March 2019. I commend every young person in Scotland and across the world who is joining this growing movement and speaking out against this existential threat to their future”
Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence is based on the idea that we support our young people to become responsible citizens. Every school student who takes action against the climate crisis on Friday is doing exactly that. They should know that they will not be punished for defending their own future. They have the Scottish Greens’ support and I hope they will have the support of their teachers and education authorities.
The scientific evidence of a climate crisis is clear. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that the world will see catastrophic impacts even if countries managed to limit warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, a target we are not close to reaching. Governments, including here in Scotland, need to act even faster than previously agreed. Young people have every right to be angry that their future is being destroyed by the inaction, complacency and greed of today’s leaders.
The Climate Bill going through the Scottish Parliament now is not nearly strong enough and doesn’t respond to the latest science, so it is no wonder that many young people feel they are being badly let down. The Greens are working for a Climate Emergency Bill that spurs bold action capable of meeting the scientific reality of this crisis.
We should be inspired by young people here in Scotland and around the globe taking action for our collective future. In the words of the now famous 16-year-old Swedish activist and original school climate striker Greta Thunberg, 'If everyone listened to the scientists...no-one would have to listen to me or any of the other hundreds of thousands of school children on strike for the climate across the world. We could all go back to school.'
As education leaders, I urge you to show you understand the fight faced by this generation. Punitive action would be inappropriate and pointless when the future of our species' life support system is at stake. Such action would also send a harmful message that civic engagement is discouraged at a time where our survival will almost certainly depend on the mass mobilisation of people in every corner of the Earth.
I trust that in the face of this crisis you will take appropriate actions to support these brave young people.
Ross Greer MSP