How to get a fairer, greener planet

Politician’s are like balloons tied to a rock. Campaigns trying to influence only them can only blow them so far. You can’t fundamentally change the position of the balloon without moving the rock.

The rock in this instance is the things that make people get up and take action. If we can move the rock of public values we move all politicians to our views.

When calling for climate and environmental justice, for a sustainable, circular economy we are calling for a systemic transformation of our economy, social, cultural and political landscape. We can’t do this just by reaching out to politicians. We need to shift the public mood. We’ve seen this with the school strikers making waves in the media, in communities and in Holyrood, Westminster, Brussels and the United Nations.

It is also being seen in the calls to “build back better”. Polls show big support for a move towards a more equitable society and not returning to “business as usual” that has already devasted people and the planet.

To win we need a recovery plan to tackle inequality and deliver on climate change action. A conversation on this needs to happen in every village, town and city. We need to get people coming together to think about how they can improve their own local community, posters in every window, posts on social media profiles and letters in every local newspaper and politicians inboxes.

There should be a diversity of tactics used: community aid groups supporting one another; people in the street taking direct action; art the helps communicate what a just and green recovery could look like; nurses, teachers, train drivers, bus drivers and school children organising together. We need to make noise, loud enough that politicians can’t ignore us.

We have an opportunity to make real lasting changes to our society, together we can move the rock.

This article is based on one called How we win a fairer, greener Scotland that appears in What on Earth Magazine. Issue 81,  Summer 2020