Published in the Daily Record: 02/08/22
A grandmother has held a one-woman protest in her village to highlight the need for quicker action on climate change.
Activist Mary O’Brien, from Houston, took the streets to raise awareness of how humans are damaging the planet and causing shifts in weather and temperature patterns.
She said: “We are at a stage of crisis now when it comes to climate change, more needs to be done and at a quicker pace. I feel that Renfrewshire Council aren’t tackling the problem quick enough and I feel that they need to be more ambitious and urgent with some of their plans.
“I have written to the council recently about what they are planning on doing and what their plan is. Three years ago, they declared a state of emergency regarding climate change, however, now three years later they still have no plan.
“I feel that the council have done some great work when it comes to tackling climate change, with the introduction of electric vehicles and solar panels, so I can’t sit here and say that they aren’t doing anything, because they are, but it is the long term plan and the speed of it that concerns me.
Mary became an activist in 2018 after reading about climate change and was involved in an Extinction Rebellion protest back in 2019 that disrupted a council meeting.
She said the purpose of this was to bring the scale of the problem to the attention of the local community and the council.
Renfrewshire Council says it is committed to becoming net-zero by 2030 and also acknowledged that working with communities is key to helping reach this goal.
A spokesman explained: “Tackling climate change is one of our top priorities and we remain committed to leading from the front in our ambitious aim for Renfrewshire to become net-zero by 2030.
“We have carried out a range of work designed to reduce our carbon footprint following our declaration of a climate emergency in Renfrewshire, which received cross-party support, in 2019. This includes extending our electric vehicle programme, launching our £ 1 million Climate Change Action Fund to support innovative climate projects and initiatives, establishing the Renfrewshire Climate Panel and carrying out a feasibility study into creating resilient town centres.
“We also appointed a Climate Emergency Lead Officer and carried out independent research to provide the basis for our Plan for Net-Zero which will set out the Council’s plan to make Renfrewshire net-zero by 2030. The plan will go to councillors for approval this month.
“So far, we have reduced our carbon emissions by more than 30,000 tonnes (more than 60%) since 2012/13, far exceeding our initial target.
“However, we know we need to work together to reach this ambitious goal of net-zero. We are working with our communities and local businesses and supporting them to go green through our Climate Change Action Fund, Community Climate
“Fund and Net-Zero Business Grants. More than 11 projects and initiatives have already received support from our Community Climate Change Action Fund.
“We have also signed up to the Edinburgh Declaration which is an international agreement to ensure action is taken at all levels to protect biodiversity and has been led and supported by the Scottish Government.
“We are committed to tackling this climate crisis and are working hard to move Renfrewshire closer to net-zero every day.”