Party Conference season ended with the SNP conference in Aberdeen last weekend. So I am delighted to welcome back Paul McNamee from our Parliamentary team to give his reflections on his foray north.
Five hours in to my train journey to Aberdeen (with a further two hours to go), the dark edges of my mind started to feel jealous of the people who had chosen a 90 minute flight from London over a civilised rail journey. But then my train burst onto the Forth Bridge and everything was alright with the world. The Firth of Forth sparkled in the evening light as flocks of seabirds raced over the North Sea in the distance. My Edinburgh colleagues had told me to look out for seals but I only caught sight of a lone jetskier.
I was heading to Aberdeen for SNP Party Conference where I, along with my Scottish colleagues, would be talking to MPs, MSPs and local councillors about the current issues facing nature. It was great to see so many elected officials engaging with us on current environmental issues and the wider work of the RSPB. And for me, one of the most rewarding parts was the larger presence of whisky than at any of the other Party Conferences this season.
One of our main aims was to draw attention to the Climate March in Edinburgh on 28 November. This march will mirror the Climate March in London on the 29 November and numerous others in cities across the world, where people will be taking to the street to tell their Governments to take action to protect our precious Earth. That weekend will see the biggest global climate protest ever, just in time for the start of the crucial international talks in Paris.
Our natural world will be one of the first things affected by climate change and our landscapes and habitats have an important role to play in helping to adapt to a world with increased flooding and major weather events. That is why the RSPB will be joining the millions around the world on the streets that weekend. The Paris talks may be the last chance for Governments to not only agree strong targets (we want to see a maximum of a 2*C global rise) but also to set out a map of how we reach them. The general public, including everyone we spoke to at the SNP conference, recognises how important it is to tackle climate change and that its time for international leaders to take it seriously.
I don’t for one minute regret choosing my train journey over a flight to Aberdeen, not least because of the amazing views of the Scottish coastline I got along the way. Individual actions will be important in tackling one of the biggest threats of our generation, but they need to be backed up by strong Government action on an international level. I’ll be marching on the weekend before the Paris talks and I hope to see you there.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654