Monday, November 30th, 2015
Nearly 200 people braved snow and hail yesterday to walk through Inverness in one of over 2000 worldwide events. In Inverness High St John Finnie, MSP and Drew Hendry, MP gave impassioned speeches, then the crowd set off across the Ness Bridge to Huntly St where they launched a small ‘Earth Ark’ made by Topher Dawson from Ullapool as a visual demonstration of our need to be rescued from climate change. The participants had also made paper people to put on the ark which floated downstream. The route then followed the new flood defences, themselves a visual reminder of measures already needed to adapt to climate change. The walk finished at a new community garden in South Kessock where Russell Deacon from Merkinch Allotment Society welcomed everyone and Isla O’Reilly from the Greens thanked them for coming. Walkers planted three apple trees and some fruit bushes as a way of doing something practical to combat climate change by encouraging growing and eating local food.
John Finnie said “The Scottish Government has some of the most ambitious targets on carbon emissions in the world which I’m very pleased about, however we’ve missed them every year so far, so there is obviously a need to do things differently so that we meet them in future. This isn’t party political; we all need to work together”. Drew Hendry had to contend with a hailstorm. He agreed about the need for all parties to work together to tackle climate change. Rhoda Grant Labour MSP was hoping to attend but was ill. She wrote “Paris is so important not just for us but for the countries, usually already poor, who appear to bear the brunt of climate change. With all these things it is always the least well off that have to deal with them and they are the least able to”.
The walk was organised by international campaign group Avaaz, and locally by Transition Black Isle, Merkinch Allotment Society and the Highlands and Islands Greens. It was attended by a wide spectrum of concerned people such as the Quakers, Oxfam, Highland Cycle Campaign, Friends of the Earth and many other groups and concerned individuals. The worldwide events were timed to highlight the need for world leaders at the Paris Climate Summit which starts this week to agree to strong cuts to Greenhouse gases to limit global warming to two degrees. Many scientists suggest this is still too high a limit. A groundswell of local action is important to encourage both local and global leaders to agree to a faster transition to a low carbon future and helps people see what they can do themselves. Many of the actions needed to tackle climate change also make other things better such as providing jobs, reducing the health effects of air pollution and the devastation caused to many communities by extracting and transporting fossil fuels.