Scottish schools climate competition branded 'patronising'

Tackling the climate emergency will take more than school competitions for pupils to dream up ideas of reaching zero carbon emissions, according to the Scottish Greens.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 12:57 pm
Updated Monday, 7th October 2019, 1:58 pm
Children taking part in the recent climate strike in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Government has organised a series of events to encourage people to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during Climate Week, including a competition for all school pupils to "encourage the next generation to express what climate change means to them, and what their vision for a net-zero Scotland looks like."

However, Scottish Greens education spokesman Ross Greer said the competition was "patronising", coming "from a government which might have warm words for the school climate strikers, but which is roundly ignoring their demands.

“These young people have already shown us their vision for a climate-friendly society through the Scottish Youth Climate Strikers’ ‘People’s Climate Declaration’. They certainly don’t need a competition designed to focus them on individual lifestyle changes when only big, systemic change over the next decade will make the difference this crisis requires."

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Mr Greer said that it was wrong of the government to "place all the responsibility for the climate emergency onto the public" while it was still committed to North Sea oil and gas extraction.

But the Scottish Government has said that the message of Climate Week is that everyone - government, business, communities and individuals – must work together to help Scotland become a net-zero society by 2045.

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland’s Climate Week continues to grow, and I am pleased that, this year, an impressive number of businesses, schools and universities have responded to the call to join the public sector in helping drive awareness and action to tackle climate change.

“The growing recognition of the need for urgent action is welcome, not least because we all need to take action to respond to the global climate emergency.

“I would like to thank the organisations taking place in Climate Week 2019 and would encourage everyone to find out what their workplace or local community group is doing for Climate Week and get involved if you can."