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A grassroots group pressing for quicker action to combat climate change has grown to more than 30 members and hundreds on social media.
Climate action group, Time For Change Argyll & Bute, now has active members spread between Taylvallich, Oban, Helensburgh, Bute, Iona and Cowal.
It has drawn a range of people to its ranks, from university students to lifelong environmentalists, retired residents and those new to campaigning.
Members include Rowan, Freya and John Aitchison, all of Tayvallich, and Keira Anderson, also from the village. Sue Rule, of Dunoon, Dennis Archer from Oban, and Angela Anderson, of Helensburgh, are members too.
In a statement, the group said: ‘We know that the situation is critical and that if we, as individuals, communities, and as a country, do not take decisive action in the next few years, global heating of over 2ºC will be inevitable, forcing the climate into a downwards spiral of tipping points and ecosystem collapse.’
The group has now started proactively pressing ministers and plans to lobby local councillors and forge links with other organisations.
Members recently held a mass Zoom meeting with Brendan O’Hara MP, who represents the Argyll and Bute constituency in Westminster for the SNP.
The group has called for a ‘green recovery’ and complained of a lack of urgency with economic growth being prioritised ahead of the planet, and decision-making too slow and bureaucratic.
Member John Aitchison said: ‘The most obvious way that we can all support a green recovery is to get involved and start saying that this is what we want.
‘We have to talk to our friends and neighbours, other members of communities we belong to, such as faith groups, our work colleagues and our political representatives at all levels, from local authorities to MPs, MSPs and government ministers.
‘There must be thousands of people in every constituency just as worried as we are, but they are not asking their MPs to take action. No MP should be able to say they have not heard this message.’
The group pointed to ‘unprecedented’ heat this summer in the Arctic, fires in Australia and Brazil, and increasingly more powerful hurricanes, crop failures and floods.
‘The science is beyond doubt – this is being caused by us,’ members said. ‘The need for serious action is incredibly urgent and it has to happen now, but our leaders are not getting on with it quickly enough.
‘The UK Government has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to enable a green recovery from Covid-19, and instead it has decided to ‘build, build, build’, including 4,000 miles of new roads.’
Freya Aitchison, 22, is studying social anthropology at Edinburgh University.
She said: ‘I got involved with Time for Change because I believe there’s strength in numbers when confronting large bodies like the government and the council about huge issues like climate change.
‘We need as many people as possible to commit to urgent and meaningful action to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t make these changes quietly make sure you
talk to your friends, families and colleges about the reasons for your changes.’