Shetland climate campaigners met with their MP to say “the time is now” to make changes for the better.
Sorley Johnston, from near Sandness, helped co-ordinate the virtual meeting with Alistair Carmichael to push the case for a “green recovery” to bounce back after the Covid-19 crisis.
It was held yesterday (Tuesday) as part of the “Virtual Mass Lobby”, organised by the Climate Coalition, which saw thousands of people across the UK raise the issue with their MPs.
Mr Johnston said: “As we emerge from the coronavirus lockdown, we have the opportunity to build a resilient economy that benefits everyone, tackling climate change and nature’s decline, creating jobs and protecting the most vulnerable in the UK and around the world. “
Although the climate emergency is a global issue, Mr Johnston said its effects were felt locally in Shetland.
“It is forcing huge shifts in how we generate and distribute energy, how we travel within the islands and elsewhere, in where our food comes from and what food production standards we would expect, and in how we harvest natural resources on land and at sea,” he said.
“Add to that fewer puffins and kittiwakes, more rubbish on the beaches and rising sea-levels – the changing climate is clearly changing our lives.”
The Climate Coalition wants politicians at all levels to put climate and nature at the heart of the UK’s recovery.
Mr Johnston said he felt Mr Carmichael “broadly shared our views” and had already raised concerns about food production, plastic pollution and climate change.
“He is ready to listen and work with constituents to effect change while being conscious of the need to protect and create jobs here in the Northern Isles,” he said.
Mr Johnston said that while the Covid-19 pandemic had shown the pain and disruption caused by an unexpected criss – the climate emergency had been known about for years.
“It is vital that the time is now to move beyond words to learn from our mistakes, to actually do things differently, and to build back better,” he said.
“A green recovery is not part of the plan; it is the plan and will benefit us all by providing employment, improving lives and saving our beautiful world for future generations to enjoy.”