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JIM CRUMLEY: A Green voice in government might be Scotland’s last chance

Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, co-leaders of the Scottish Green Party

DO YOU believe in the power of omens? I hope so, because I’ve got a good one for you. But I’m not telling you what it is until the end.

Something big is coming down the line. Something that may well prove to be the last chance to save our portion of the planet.

And less than three months later, the COP Summit is coming to Glasgow.

Yes, you’ve got it, the Scottish Government is about to do a deal with the Scottish Greens.

Politically, socially, culturally, and – most important – environmentally, this is huge.

Perhaps more than any other single event, this shows Scotland as an independent-minded, forward-thinking, pro-European country with an agenda and an environmental awareness that is light years away from and ahead of Boris’s floundering.

The moment we commit to a future in which fossil fuels play no part, whenever that moment comes, it will already be too late.

So it is fair to say there is a degree of urgency.

If the Scottish Government acknowledges its less-than-convincing track record on the environment and willingly involves itself in policies that are ethically green, it will be putting into place the missing piece of the puzzle that is the only worthwhile mission for any 21st century nation worth the name.

Green isn’t just for muppets

There is a song out there called Bein’ Green, originally written for Kermit the Frog in Sesame Street, 50 years ago.

I admit I prefer the Frank Sinatra version, not least because (a) he is a better singer than Kermit and (b) he treats the lyric with the respect it deserves and makes something utterly beautiful of it, improbable as that may sound.

The song begins by saying it’s not easy being green and maybe it would be better to be red or gold, and being green you don’t stand out like “flashy sparkles on the water or stars in the sky”.


But then it considers that green is the colour of spring and trees and mountains and sea, and then comes the philosophical bit, which is never more apposite right now than at any moment in the song’s lifetime.

When green is all there is to be

It could make you wonder why

But why wonder? Why wonder?

I’m green and it’ll do fine

It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I want to be.

Economic fixes must be Earth fixes

So no, it’s not easy being green.

And you lay yourself open to all kinds of hectoring vested interests who think that the only way to fix the world and all its problems is to fix the economy because nothing is more important than people and their jobs and their income and their way of life and their prosperity.

So let’s open new oilfields and gas fields, let’s fill the sky with airliners and the sea with cruise liners and let’s burn Scottish mountainsides because it’s good for the rural economy and who cares if it wrecks the land…

Controlled burning near Aberfeldy.

We have to stop. We have to let the planet heal.

All the prosperity in the world is worth less than nothing if that world is broken beyond repair, and we are fast reaching that point.

How do we heal the planet? We don’t, we can’t. We have to let nature do it.

Our role is to remove every obstacle we possibly can that stands in nature’s path, and it’s that simple, because at the end of the day, nature is all there is.

Green goals to fuel a new capitalism

Capitalism doesn’t fix this, or at least capitalism as it is presently configured doesn’t.

But a reconfigured capitalism with a compassionate emphasis just might.

That’s a capitalism that acknowledges that the health of the Earth is the overwhelming priority.

And that means not just the people, but every creature with which we share the planet, and the land and the oceans and the airspace above them.

When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why, but why wonder? Why wonder?

Sometimes I think songwriters know more about the world than anyone else.

And screenwriters too maybe

So, I promised to end on a good omen. November 2021 brings the 60th anniversary of a film in which the world was poised on the edge of self-inflicted oblivion.

In the denouement, a national newspaper waits with the presses ready to roll and with one of two front pages.

One says “World Doomed”, the other “World Saved”.

The final twist is the title, given the events that have blazed across our front pages and TV screens through 2021: “The Day the Earth Caught Fire”.

Spoiler alert: The world was saved. I told you it was a good omen.

We have a lot of work to do before the November summit.

Every thinking nation has to set its own example and Scotland cannot rely on Britain to deliver.

An injection of green thinking into our government suggests a nation that both takes its own responsibilities seriously, and is eager and willing to pitch in for the greater good of planet Earth.

No, it’s not easy being green, but I think it’s what I want my country to be.

OPINION: Oil and gas workers want out of the North Sea so what’s stopping the Scottish Government?


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