Let’s Talk Carbon

The fact that climate is changing, technology is constantly blooming and that human activity is destroying our environment is not anything new under the sun. But that the pollution is killing us slowly but surely and that the rising temperatures do not affect just polar bears and birds, but force us to change our eating habits or even holiday routes make us probably think before entering the car. We talk to Catriona Mallows from 2050 Climate Group about the actions Scotland has to take to become a cleaner and friendlier place to live.

What was your incentive to come together as a group?

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Catriona Mallows Board Trustee 2050 Climate Group

Young people are the pioneers of the future. In the face of climate change, the greatest threat facing the survival of humanity, we need to use our knowledge, skills and passion to respond to the challenges and opportunities associated with a changing planet. The 2050 Climate Group, in our current iteration, are a group of 25 board members, 55 operational team members, 125 young leaders and enthusiastic stakeholders all passionate about enabling young people to take action on climate change. As an organisation, we work to educate, engage and empower the next generation of leaders to lead the transition to a more sustainable, successful Scotland.  

In October 2015, we launched the Young Leaders Development Programme (YLDP) aimed at developing climate awareness and the leadership skills in 125 leaders of the next generation in the Scottish public, private and third sectors. Over the course of a year, young leaders attended a series of climate change events and leadership events designed by the 2050 Climate Group.

We need to use our knowledge, skills and passion to respond to the challenges and opportunities associated with a changing planet.

In April 2017, we will be launching the second year of the Young Leaders Development Programme. We will be recruiting in February looking for young professionals from any sector to get involved and be part of our social movement. Please follow our social media channels for more information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

How do you want to change our society, does it start with the social habits we possess?

Our social habits are a huge factor in causing climate change, and are also a large barrier in mitigating its effects. The 2050 Climate Group want to change society by creating a new normal, where low-carbon, sustainable ways of living are at the fore. We are doing this through our Young Leaders Development Programme, which will be our main focus over the coming years. As part of this year’s programme, we partnered up with DoNation, an online platform that encourages individuals to pledge to make simple or challenging changes to their behaviour. Over the course of the programme, young leaders, their peers, co-workers and family members made 822 different pledges, such as being a more conscious consumer, taking one less flight and even reducing junk mail received. This totaled to a confirmed CO2 (carbon dioxide) savings of 15,263kg! DoNation was a great tool for young leaders to open up conversations with their own networks about changing behaviours and reducing emissions and a fun and sometimes competitive way.

We can choose to cycle to work rather than drive, eat sustainable and seasonal food, or change how we heat our homes and flats to low-carbon, renewable technologies.

How bad is the situation with carbon level in Scotland?

Carbon levels across the world are already causing detrimental damage. Scotland has been progressively working towards a low-carbon economy, as drastic cuts have already been made by businesses and institutions across the country. The Scottish Government has set a target to reduce emissions by at least 42% by 2020, and 80% by 2050. However, we feel that transformation change, a new normal, is necessary and must be done in order to adapt, mitigate and prevent the worst effects of climate change. Young people should be at the fore of this change.

Why is carbon level such an important subject for this generation?

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, emitted into the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels for agriculture, transport or to heat our homes. These emissions cause the greenhouse effect, which traps heat and causes global temperatures to rise. Levels of carbon are an important issue to tackle, and is something we can do in our own individual lives by choosing low-carbon alternatives. For example, we can choose to cycle to work rather than drive, eat sustainable and seasonal food, or change how we heat our homes and flats to low-carbon, renewable technologies.

It is important to act in our own individual lives, and to try to engage and influence others in our communities, workplaces, or universities. 

 

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