Time for Change – local climate action

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Welcome to the first in a regular series of articles from climate change campaign group Time for Change Argyll and Bute

By Freya Aitchison

Last year was quite a 12 months. For many people in Scotland, the climate crisis has never felt closer to home, with storms such as Dennis, Arwen and Barra wreaking havoc across the country, the Rest and Be Thankful landslide problem never far from the headlines and Glasgow experiencing its hottest summer since records began.

Then, as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, was hosted on our doorstep we got a close-up view of the global climate change negotiations and welcomed climate justice activists from all over the world for Scotland’s largest-ever climate protest.

But we need more than international agreements and national targets to solve this crisis.

Small-scale and local level action is also critical, and in Argyll we have a wealth of great examples of this – from hydro-electric schemes to permaculture to rewilding.

Argyll is full of solutions to the climate crisis which could be scaled up and replicated elsewhere.

We can always do more and push for change at higher levels, but it’s important to showcase what works locally as well.

A lot of our work at Time for Change last year was focused on this dual goal of raising awareness of existing solutions and pushing politicians and councillors to keep climate at the top of their agendas.

As an organisation, we really got the bit between our teeth with a new website, a constitution and a 50 per cent growth in membership.

We connected people from all over Argyll with our MSP candidates in a climate-focused hustings before the May elections, and went on to meet our new MSPs to discuss local climate issues.

We also asked Argyll and Bute Council to roll out climate literacy training to all councillors and to officially declare a climate emergency, which it has now done.

In September we hosted the Argyll and Bute Climate Summit, where experts in climate-friendly solutions in food, transport and energy discussed their work with more than 100 online attendees.

During COP26 we organised three protests in Lochgilphead, Oban and Helensburgh to show solidarity with those taking place in Glasgow for climate justice, and we also showed our short film Argyll and Bute’s Hopes for the Future in the official COP26 Green Zone.

In 2022 we’re hoping to reach even more people and show that anyone can get involved in local climate campaigning.

We need all kinds of voices in this movement, to show our politicians that stopping climate change is a top priority for their citizens.

In this column we’ll be showcasing examples of local climate action, climate justice issues and keeping you updated about our campaigns.

If you’d like to find out more or get involved, we’d love to hear from you at timeforchangeargyll@gmail.com.