Greens in Europe – putting hope into action
It is wonderful to feel a shiver of hope. I spend so much of my time feeling anxious and angry: anxious about people drowning in the Mediterranean as they seek safety and a new life, anxious about plastic nurdles on our beaches, about there being only 570 puffins where there used to be 33,000, and angry that there are politicians in our Scottish Parliament who invited oil & gas lobbyists to the debate on climate change, where they spoke mealy-mouthed words about how ‘concerned’ they were, but failed to declare that it was an emergency or actually take any action to change anything.
It was lovely to feel hope when I saw hundreds of children and young people on climate strike outside the Scottish parliament demanding change. It gave me hope to hear from a 13 year old climate activist at the Scottish Greens Conference last week. The young people get it, at least.
The European Parliamentary elections also give me hope. The hope that we can make the positive case for being members of the European Union. Twenty-eight countries working peacefully together to promote prosperity, human rights and democracy; such a thing has never before been done and it has rightly been called “one of the greatest achievements of modern times” by former US President Barack Obama. The world will not be saved by people or countries acting alone, but by us working together.
Greens working together
Working together is what makes Green parties different from other political parties. All Green parties around the world are part of the Green Movement and share the same 4 aims: peace, sustainability, social justice and grassroots democracy. When you vote for a Green, and in particular for a Green in the European Parliament, you are voting for so much more than an individual. You are voting for a worldwide movement dedicated to these 4 ethical principles, and this should give you hope.
The Greens are evidence that not all politicians are the same; you can vote for the world that you want to see: a world where the needs of people take precedence over the needs of cars, where tax avoidance isn’t allowed to flourish and where large, polluting, multi-nationals pick up the bill for cleaning up after themselves, instead of making the tax payers pay. It is possible to make change, but only a multi-national organisation like the EU can take on the multi-national corporations that cause so much of the damage to our planet. These are the same corporations who use tax havens to avoid contributing to the well-being of the countries where they operate and who lobby to reduce worker’s rights and environmental protections.
We can accomplish a lot if we acknowledge that there is a climate emergency and we start making plans to tackle it, like putting together a Green New Deal that works for people like us. We can make plans to build infrastructure to export renewable energy, we can change legislation to ensure that local people make the decisions about how our land and resources are used and how the benefits are shared, but only if we work together as Europeans and as Greens.
Putting hope into action
It was hope for a new life in a country that values the environment, community and worker’s rights that made me buy a one-way ticket to the UK in 2000. I arrived here with only a backpack and an engineering degree. It was a desire to work toward a new and different world that made me move from the stable industry of engineering semi-conductors to the much more uncertain industry of marine renewable energy, 5 years ago. For the past 3 years I have been managing a Horizon 2020 project with 11 companies in 6 EU countries to develop the next generation of tidal turbine, a technology that originated in Scotland and has the potential to form the basis of an entirely new, sustainable, global industry based in Scotland.
I am now standing for selection as the Scottish Greens candidate in the EU Parliamentary elections where I will bring my expertise in renewable energy and my experience of collaborating with European colleagues to the job of persuading the powers of Europe to take immediate, practical actions to tackle climate breakdown. I think we need more politicians with STEM backgrounds, who understand science and technology and statistics, and I would be proud to be able to bring these skills to the EU parliament.
Please vote Green in the upcoming European Elections and let’s act together on climate breakdown and put hope in to action.