For the past while, everyone in our group Scottish Youth Climate Strikes (SYCS) has been busy preparing for today. There’s been a reason for all the hectic work, though; the Global Strike for Climate. We’ve been putting huge amounts of effort into this vastly important strike. Millions of people are gathering across the world to protest Government inaction on climate change.

The Global Strike for Climate is our biggest demonstration yet. It’s unique in that we’ve asked adults to join us in demanding action. Today people of all ages and all backgrounds are uniting against climate change, and it’s going to be a day of historic proportions. It’s crucial that we send a clear message to the Government that caring about the environment isn’t some sort of trendy fad exclusive to young people- it’s a huge issue which everyone should care about, since it will affect all of us. We must show those at the top that we’re not going to just go away, since the climate crisis isn’t just going to disappear either. Like us, it’s effects will only grow stronger and stronger. In the future, climate change will not go unnoticed, and so we can’t afford to let it go unnoticed while we still have the chance to do something.

People around the globe are already suffering the impacts of the climate crisis right now, just look at the devastating impacts of hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas and the countless awful natural disasters that we’ve seen just like it. Climate change is here and now, and the Global Strike is a chance for all of us to demand the government to stop perceiving it as some far-off threat for the far down the line.

This issue is both amazingly simple and infinitely complex. It’s true to say that this is an incredibly difficult problem and that there are so many things we must address to fix it, but it’s also clear that we don’t really have a choice but to try; it’s our moral obligation. We have to save ourselves. When someone or something you love is in trouble, you don’t have any choice but to do your utmost to help, and that’s what we must do for our planet. Society is waking up to that reality, and for me, that makes the weeks of hard campaigning worth it, to see all sorts of people marching along the streets of Glasgow today validates all of our efforts, it gives me hope that we’re going to do succeed. This is a fight we can’t afford to lose, and we need your help to win it.

* Erin Curtis is a youth climate activist

READ MORE: Greta tells Congress 'You’re not trying hard enough'


We have all looked on in despair this summer as parts of the Amazon have burned. The loss of forest, habitat and wildlife is shocking to witness. In Scotland, as in the Amazon, a great forest has been here before but has now gone after centuries of use, depleted until the final old trees decline and fall. Across the Scottish Highlands, over many centuries, grazing by goats, sheep, cattle and wild deer along with felling for timber and farmland, has removed this precious woodland from the hills of Scotland. We need that great forest again – now more than ever. Capturing carbon, helping community resilience, reducing flooding risk, improving soils, nurturing biodiversity and offering a wonderland for people to explore – these are some of the benefits that a rewilded Caledonian Forest can bring.

While human activity has been the cause of the loss of so much forest in Scotland and around the world, people are vital to its future. Much of the work Trees for Life has done so far has been with the help of thousands of volunteers who have joined us to return forest to remote mountains. As we work in more places at a bigger scale we know that landowners, local communities and businesses need to thrive alongside the wild forest. This means working together to strike the right balance between a forest that can take care of itself and humans being able to make a living from it. The Trees for Life vision is of a revitalised wild forest in the Scottish Highlands, providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive.

We welcome action that shines a light on the climate crisis. It is time for those who hold power, from landowners to Governments, to act on what the science has been telling us for decades. We believe that rewilding answers many of the urgent questions climate change is asking. We also recognise it is not the only solution. A mix of solutions is required if we are to reverse the effects of humankind’s damage to the environment.

Scotland was the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency. As a nation leading this agenda we must recognise the time for discussion and debate is over. The solutions to reverse the effects of climate change are available now. Our children are asking for action now. We must respond with action now.

• Steve Micklewright is CEO of Trees for Life:


With some of the planet’s most ambitious renewable energy and carbon targets, Scotland is already a world leader on climate action.

The Scottish Renewable Energy Festival, which is underway right now (Sept 16 – Oct 1), is highlighting our industry’s successes to date and our ambitious plans for the future.

The announcement earlier this month that the UN’s 26th climate change conference is coming to Glasgow in 2020 gives us a new opportunity, too.

It’s an opportunity to make Scotland one of the most climate-savvy nations on Earth.

And that’s an opportunity with energy at its heart.

Globally, the energy industry is on a multi-trillion dollar journey to decarbonisation, but the production of energy is still one of the largest sources of the carbon emissions which are damaging our planet.

Yes, Scotland’s electricity sector no longer belches smoke skywards, and this is certainly something to be proud of.

But heat makes up almost double the carbon emissions of electricity. We haven’t even scratched the surface of decarbonising it.

Transport, too, is a huge issue, and one which can only be resolved if the public changes the habits of a lifetime.

Those of us who drive a petrol car know its emissions are an issue. But the excuses for choosing fossil fuel over an electric vehicle are all too easy to come up with.

And it’s the same for heat. When your boiler breaks down, would you be willing to pay more in the short-term for a heat pump, or connect to a district heating network?

Again, the excuses are many: the short-term costs are too high. The long-term benefits of these choices are too distant. It’s easier to stick our heads in the sand.

But there’s only so long we can ignore the truth: climate change is a threat multiplier.

A poll this week found climate breakdown is viewed as the most important issue facing the world, ahead of migration, terrorism and the global economy.

There’s no more important aspect of our lives to rethink than how we, personally, tackle it.

Today’s (Sept 20) protests are part of that story, but so too are the energy industry’s actions.

The Scottish Renewable Energy Festival is an opportunity to look forward, past COP26 and medium-term targets, to a low-carbon energy system with renewables at its heart.

I’m proud that my industry is doing so much to achieve that vision, and heartened that so many people share it.

• Claire Mack, is Chief Executive at Scottish Renewables

READ MORE: The full list of climate strikes taking place across Scotland


This week the figurehead of the climate strikers, Greta Thunberg, was in front of US Congress.

“I don’t want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists,” she told US lawmakers.

Instead of a written submission, the Swedish teenager handed over the landmark IPCC report, published last year, which gives governments only a decade to slow global warming.

That stark warning, based on scientific evidence and which governments signed up to, is what our young people are articulating through direct action today.

Thousands of Scottish children and young people share Greta’s message. They are telling us to look at the scientific evidence which tells us that the majority of fossil fuels must be left in the ground. They are telling us to plant more trees and save endangered species. They are telling us to get on with it, fast.

The Scottish Government claim to be listening to them, but if we look at what our leaders are actually offering in return, it seems to me that the message is just not getting through.

For example, Nicola Sturgeon likes to talk about Scotland’s ‘world-leading targets’ to reduce emissions. But the timescale bares little resemblance to the ten years the IPCC gives us for meaningful change. By the time we meet the net-zero target of 2045, the IPCC’s point of no return will be 15 years old. Greta Thunberg will be 42.

I will be putting forward an amendment to the Scottish Government’s climate bill which will see an 80% reduction in emissions by the IPCC’s deadline, and I hope that every MSP will put our common future first and back it.

But targets aren’t enough. Indeed, Scotland missed its existing emissions targets last year.

Ultimately, it’s action that counts. Bold, ambitious action like a nation-wide programme of works to make every home in Scotland warm, efficient and low carbon, shifting billions out of new motorways and into public transport up so people don’t need to rely on cars, and reforesting Scotland up to at least the European average.

My fear is that this message has not got through to the majority of politicians in Holyrood and around the world. Rhetoric and eye-catching targets will not meet the demands of young people. Next week’s vote on the climate bill must mark the beginning of transformative change.

Like Greta told Congress, our young people are telling the UK and Scottish Governments: “You’re not trying hard enough.”

• Mark Ruskell is MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife


When I met 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg briefly at the climate summit in Katowice in Poland last year I thanked her for all she was doing to bring attention to the need for more climate action. At that point she had been holding her own personal climate strike outside the Swedish Parliament for five months. This had sparked a global movement of school children striking for the climate and, already on her meteoric rise to global prominence, she at the climate conference to give a speech in front of the UN Secretary General.

Of course since then she has spoken at the World Economic Forum, in front of huge crowds in a number of languages and to EU leaders. And she has just sailed across an ocean so she can speak at the UN climate summit in New York next week. Politicians who care about climate change are queuing up to be seen with her and last week she was protesting outside the White House with thousands of US students.

The movement she started has gone from strength to strength, becoming the largest youth-led movement ever. There have been school strikes across the world and a week of action starts today with millions of people – children and adults this time - expected to take part in thousands of marches, rallies and strikes in 150 countries.

Today there will be climate strikes in at least 17 places in Scotland, including marches with thousands of people expected in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

I’ve been outside Parliament several times to see the climate strikes including the two very impressive big rallies, one where about 7,000 young people came and went over a number of hours. The children had organised all this themselves.

Over the last decade I’ve mostly found the speeches at rallies and marches rather dull – even when it’s me giving the speech! But the children outside Parliament gave speech after speech that was really worth listening to.

I’ll be there again today because it is really inspiring and heart-warming to see young people and their supporters taking action in such huge numbers on climate change. It is young people’s future that we are all trashing with our lack of urgent action after all. I hope to see you on the streets.

• Dr Richard Dixon is Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland


All across the world, activists have been campaigning for governments, corporations and individuals to wake up to the climate change emergency.

The causes and ramifications of climate change are multiple and complex – and so are the efforts of campaigners and activists working towards a more sustainable world. Some of these are brought to life, and to our screens, by Take One Film Festival in Scotland.

Here Tamara Van Strijthem, Festival Director, explains how it began, what it hopes to achieve, and what films you should go and see.

The 12th edition of Take One Action, the UK’s leading social and environmental justice film festival is currently underway in Edinburgh and Glasgow. T

The festival was founded on the premise that shared cinematic experiences can support, ignite and sustain people’s social change journeys: our programme offers audiences an opportunity to see the change they want to be.

Exploring, questioning and challenging how we relate to global issues is the drive behind our work – and there are few global issues more pressing than climate change. Our Shared Planet strand interrogates current environmental challenges in the face of growing climate chaos and asks how we move beyond awareness – to meaningful action. Two of the films selected celebrate the role of youth activism in pushing the climate agenda forward. Grit explores a young woman’s evolving sense of her power as an activist, in an Indonesian community devastated by a fracking disaster.

Inventing Tomorrow (which bookends the climate strike with a first screening at City of Glasgow College this Friday and a second screening at Edinburgh Filmhouse next Friday), sees teenage science students tackle some of the most pressing dangers faced by their communities, at the forefront of environmental destruction.

Connecting with local issues is also crucial. The question at the heart of French documentary Time of Forests – the need to preserve forests as wild nature, not as tree plantations, and the potential role of rewilding in re-dressing biodiversity – is particularly pertinent for Scotland, while Eating up Easter (an urgent wake-up call from the remote Pacific, where rising sea levels, mass tourism and rapid development threaten Easter Island itself, as well as its islanders’ cultural traditions) has obvious echoes for Scotland’s many island communities.

Soyalism investigates the effects of industrialised meat production on humans, animals and the planet, while the latest film by photographer Edward Burtynsky, Anthropocene, explores the irreparable ways in which human activity has been transforming the planet over the last century.

Many of the screenings are presented in partnership with members of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland; all screenings are followed by audience discussions with campaigners, activists, scientists and journalists. Info about these films and the full programme can be found at

• Tamara Van Strijthem is Festival Director of Take One Action: