Rising Clyde – Series Launch

- the programme aiming to develop the debate around climate justice in Scotland

On the first Monday of each month, we’ll be talking to activists and experts about the key issues facing the climate movement in Scotland. The series is hosted by Iain Bruce who has written about the series launch on 7 March :

“We have the future not only on our side, but within our ranks”. That was one of the hopeful messages coming out of the first episode of Rising Clyde, broadcast this month on Independence Live

In this opening programme, we began to map out some of the movement’s main challenges ahead. 

We were joined by three people who have played an important part in building the mobilisations around COP26 last November, and in the successful campaign to block plans for the new Cambo oilfield off Shetland. They were Stephen Smellie of UNISON, who has done more than almost anyone else to build the vital links between the trade union and climate justice movements in Scotland; Anna Brown, a leader of the Fridays for Future and the youth climate strikes in Glasgow; and Megan Rose, an organiser with the Stop Cambo campaign.

One of the lessons everyone seems to have drawn from the protests around COP26 is the importance of keeping and extending the breadth and diversity of the movement. That means building on all the connections made on the streets in November, with racial and gender justice certainly, with the trade union movement and the many communities from the global South that did make it to Glasgow, and with the energy and vision of the school students and other young people who want a decent future. Anna said she was sure the desire to keep all that going remains very strong and very widespread – we just have to see how we make it happen.

Stephen told us about the work that has already begun to link up with trade unionists in various African countries to develop these connections this year as we head towards COP27, which will be in Egypt in November.

We talked about the very important, if still provisional, victory that came right after COP with the suspension of plans to exploit the Cambo oilfield. Megan explained that that combination of different groups in and around the Stop Cambo campaign pursuing a whole range of tactics had been a key to that success, and she told us how proud she felt of them all. It seemed clear that the strength and visibility of the campaign had played a part in the Scottish government shifting its position to opposing Cambo, which in turn may have affected Shell’s decision to pull out, at least for now.

We also began to discuss how major new events, like the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine, might change the situation around North Sea oil and gas.

That is precisely the conversation we want to dig into further in the second episode of Rising Clyde, on Monday, 4 April. Watch this space for more details!

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