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Extinction Rebellion Forres members drop banner reading 'Care for Planet = Care for People' from the A96 bypass footbridge

By Garry McCartney

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Environmental campaigners dropping their banner to raise awareness of climate change.
Environmental campaigners dropping their banner to raise awareness of climate change.

A GROUP of environmentalists returned to Forres bypass yesterday (Thursday, April 29) to draw attention to climate change in the run-up to the Scottish parliamentary elections.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Forres members dropped a banner reading 'Care for Planet = Care for People' from the footbridge at the Kinloss/Elgin roundabout to raise awareness of caring for the planet, and to call on voters to consider the ongoing ecological emergency when deciding who to vote for on Thursday, May 6.

XR Forres member, Caitlin Macleod (19), has been disappointed by how little mention there has been in the election campaigns of the political action required to address rising temperatures around the globe.

She said: "The whole debate is being polarised around Scottish independence so it's difficult to get a clear idea of what each party is planning to do to ensure that Scotland plays its fair part in reducing our emissions as quickly as possible.

"We are calling on voters to take the time to grill candidates on their position on climate action and find out where they stand.

"Will they support divesting Scotland from fossil fuels? How will they secure a just transition for workers in the oil and gas industry? Do they have fully costed plans to boost public transport and active travel? Will they put an end to the issuing of new licences for oil and gas exploration? Will they back a national programme to retrofit homes, something which could create thousands of new jobs? What are their policies on land reform and protecting carbon sinks like our peat bogs from developments like the Spaceport in the heart of Caithness’s Flow Country?"

The 2021 Scottish Parliamentary Election is a significant marker in the fight to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

According to scientists, natural systems are crossing points of no return, triggering lasting changes with devastating impacts for vulnerable communities.

A recent Australian study predicts that the Earth will pass 1.5°C in the early 2030s so passing environmental legislation in the next five years will be key.

As an oil- and gas-producing nation, Scotland is expected to play its part. According to Professor Kevin Anderson in his evidence to Scotland’s Climate Assembly, Scotland’s per capita consumption emissions are higher than the rest of the UK and second only to the USA.

He added, at current emissions rates Scotland will have used up its share of the world’s remaining carbon budget in the next six to nine years.

Caitlin said: "We must hold our elected candidates to account and make it clear to them that they have our support in taking the ambitious and difficult decisions ahead in order to ensure the wellbeing of my generation and generations to come.

"Caring for our people means that we must also care for the planet that keep’s us alive, and I hope that voters will hold this at the forefront of their minds when they come to place their crosses on the ballots next week."

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