This September, the Climate Fringe Festival will be taking place across the whole of Scotland, showcasing the diversity of the Scottish Climate Movement.
But why is the Climate Fringe Festival so important at this moment in time?
A year ago, the full spectrum of Scottish Civil Society – from small local grassroots groups to large NGOs- was coming together to organise around what was to be the most important UN climate talks since the Paris Agreement in 2015. This organising had been going for over a year, after COP26 was delayed due to Covid-19, and opened up space for people and groups new to climate campaigning. A lot of momentum was gained over the period leading up to COP26, however the conference fell short on its promises with governments yet again not taking effective action that will keep us below the 1.5°C targets.
Eight months in, as this post is written in an over-heated, poorly-insulated, top-floor Edinburgh room, the south and east of the country are under an amber weather warning for extreme heat. Temperatures have soared past 30°C, breaking records in parts of Scotland, with much of England under the first ever red warning as temperatures break the 40°C mark. The World Meteorological Organization newest report predicts we might be breaking the 1.5°C mark in the next 5 years, even if temporarily.
With an unstable economic and political situation – from rising costs of living and energy prices, to the invasion of Ukraine and the current UK government crisis – there is a risk climate action will be sidelined. Scotland has missed 3 out of its last 4 emissions reduction targets. Most recent figures only show a decrease due to Covid lockdown measures and that Scotland is set for a rebound after the pandemic. The UK Climate Change Committee, who provides advice to the Scottish Government on reducing emissions, warns they are not doing enough to tackle climate change and that Scotland is not yet climate ready.
In this time of political and economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever that Civil Society comes together and keeps the momentum we achieved with COP26.
From local grassroot groups to larger NGOs we all can agree on one thing – urgent climate action is strongly needed and we need to keep the pressure up and show policy makers that Scotland stands together and demands climate action to be taken seriously.
The Climate Fringe Festival
Climate Fringe Festival is an opportunity for local groups to engage their local communities. It is both a celebration of everything people are doing in their communities to fight climate change and an opportunity to engage and educate the wider public and show decision makers that Scotland demands meaningful action now.
Perhaps even more importantly, we want the Climate Fringe Festival to bring together various intersections of the Scottish Climate Movement and ensure Climate Justice is at its root.
The ecological crisis brings social inequalities to the surface. People who do the least to contribute to climate change experience the biggest burden of its impacts.
This is not only true of the Global South but also disadvantaged communities in the Global North. Lower income communities, BAME communities, people with disabilities are all amongst groups that will bear the brunt of Climate Change and historically tend to go unheard in decision making.
Climate Justice can only be achieved by amplifying the voices of those most affected by climate change and the Climate Fringe Festival is an opportunity not only to build pressure on policy makers, but to bring the movement together and learn from those with different lived experiences.
Together, we can push for more effective policies and business models that can reduce emissions and increase community resilience to climate change.