RSPB Scotland’s Allie McGregor shares their experience of the climate strike in Edinburgh last Friday and ways you can get involved in the coming days to keep the conversation going.

A day at the Global Climate Strike

I arrived at Edinburgh’s stunning Meadows over an hour before the march was due to begin. Already there were people trickling in, some in groups, some with their families, and individuals bringing their own enthusiasm. The night before I had been fearful that maybe there weren’t as many people with us as I had hoped, but I wasn’t there long before it became clear that this was going to be big. 

A selection of placards from the RSPB Scotland team. Photo: Allie McGregor

The energy, positivity and hope radiated from the crowds. I’m sure, like myself, many people there were experiencing anger and frustration that had brought them there but every placard, every chant, and every cheer had such a strong sense of determination about it that it was impossible not to feel truly moved.

The march seemed to stretch forever. There were seas of people ahead of me and seas behind. I’ve now heard estimates that there may have been more than 20,000 people there which is honestly mind-boggling. While I was there I was checking my phone to see photos and videos of friends, colleagues, and strangers taking part all across Scotland (If you haven’t seen the clip of the excellent dancing birds at the Glasgow march you are missing out). 

RSPB Scotland staff at the march. Photo: Allie McGregor

I had never heard so many inspirational speakers one after the other than I did in Holyrood Park once we arrived. There were so many incredible people of different ages. The power of young voices really shone through - it’s our future that’s at risk and we are more than capable of speaking up to save it.

When I arrived home that evening I could have kept scrolling through all the messages and images from across the globe for hours. What we are facing is truly frightening, but we are all coming together to find solutions and that is powerful.

So… what’s next?

We sent a clear message on Friday but the work is hardly over. 

Here in Scotland, our MSPs will place their FINAL votes on the Climate Bill this Wednesday 25th September. With Stop Climate Chaos Scotland we will be taking part in actions which you can find out more about here. You can also contact your MSP to ask for a more ambitious Climate Bill. This is our LAST chance to make sure Scotland has a Climate Act fit for the climate emergency.

The Youth Strikers are holding a week of action this week with themes such as people power, education and love the planet. Check out the Scottish Youth Climate Strike group to find out how to get involved in their actions.

More strikes will be taking across the world again this Friday, with some countries (like my home country NZ!) doing their big push then. 

RSPB Banners on the Roal Mile. Photo: Allie McGregor

Beyond the next week, we need to keep looking at solutions. Nature-based solutions are going to be a huge part of that, and Scotland has the potential to lead the way.

Thank you to everyone who took action on Friday however you were able to. Our wildlife and habitats face huge threats from the climate emergency, but our nature is also going to be a key part of the solution. What we achieved on Friday is just a small part of what’s to come.