Our last chance to save the planet is now - Lorna Slater

Circular Economy Minister Lorna SlaterCircular Economy Minister Lorna Slater
Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater
Outlander star Sam Heughan’s Last Chance to Save The Planet project will be one of the talking points of this year’s Fringe Festival. With a climate emergency happening around us, it’s a conversation we badly need to have.

Our parks and beaches were packed out this weekend. It’s easy to see why, when the weather we have experienced over recent days is so far removed from what we’re used to.

Scotland is not used to this. As nice as a sunny afternoon in Holyrood Park can be, with soaring temperatures and a huge decline in rainfall, it’s also a very worrying sign of things to come.

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That’s one reason why, as the Edinburgh Evening News blasted from its front page last week, Sam will be using his platform, and the stage at the Traverse to explore how we got here and what it will mean for our country and our planet.

He is billing Last Chance to Save the Planet as an opportunity to hear from young people across Scotland and for them to present new writing about their perspectives on the future and to ensure they are at the heart of a conversation that they are often left out of.

I’m sure it will be an excellent production. There is no shortage of passion and concern about the climate crisis from young people.

We have seen that over recent years with the prominence of environmental social movements and the huge Fridays for Future school walk-outs that began with Greta Thunberg in Sweden and have gone on to rock our city and countless others around the world.

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These young activists are not just passionate and driven, they are also exceptionally knowledgeable and well-informed about the climate crisis and the devastating impact it will have on their future.

They have to be, it’s not an abstract issue for them, it’s an existential one. They understand the danger our planet is in and they know that it is their future that is threatened.

The school students that I have met and spoken to know that we can’t continue with business as usual, and that when it comes to systemic change we must go further and faster than all previous generations have done.

That means taking action on all fronts. With Scottish Greens in government we are putting our planet at the heart of everything we do, whether it is the Deposit Return Scheme for bottles and cans, the ambitious green energy strategy or the huge expansion of active travel or free bus travel for young people. These kinds of changes are essential to cutting our emissions.

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Even in this country we are seeing increased wildfires and water scarcity warnings. These will only become more normal. That is why every fraction of a degree is worth fighting for, because there will be millions of people living between those fractions.

The Last Chance to Save The Planet isn’t just the name of Sam’s show, it’s a call to action and one that we urgently need to meet.

Lorna Slater is the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity

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