AS regular readers of The National know, I always look forward to the Scottish Green Party’s two-day autumn conference. This year is especially exciting for me because it is being held in Glasgow – the city I’m proud to represent in the Scottish Parliament.

I’m always suspicious of marketing gimmicks, and the slogan “People Make Glasgow” is no exception.

But it’s an idea I want to believe in – especially given the way the city has been enriched by its growing diversity and the way so many Glaswegians stood together recently in defence of asylum seekers against the threat of eviction and deportation.

READ MORE: Scottish Green Party calls for summit to address UN climate change report

Glasgow faces many challenges, not least poverty and income inequality. However, I believe now more than ever that it’s Greens, at both the council and Holyrood, who have many of the answers to transforming our society by reconnecting people with the power they feel alienated from. We join the dots between fighting inequality and heeding the stark warnings from the scientific community about the urgency of action on climate change, unlike other parties which continue to throw tax breaks towards the big polluters.

Greens are rising to these challenges right across Europe. From Belgium to Bavaria voters in local elections across Europe backed the Greens in their droves. We’ve seen great results for our sister parties in Belgium, where every single Green in local government won more voters in comparison to the previous elections and parties in opposition also made important gains. In Antwerp, Groen succeeded in doubling their result!

In Bavaria the Greens are now Munich’s biggest party and the main opposition to Angela Merkel’s CSU. Across the border in Luxembourg, the Greens increased their share of the vote by 50% after five years in government, which is a huge vote of confidence for their role as part of the governing coalition.

This Green wave of hope is a much-needed contrast with the right-wing populists, like the Brexiteers in the UK and the anti-immigrant parties across Europe. They respond to the powerlessness many people feel, but offer in response only a narrow, selfish attempt to point the finger at scapegoats.

The Greens aren’t just speaking out against the rise of the far right, but offering a more relevant and constructive way of breaking with the business-as-usual politics of the insipid centre ground.

This weekend we’ll aim to face these challenges head on. If you’re coming, you’ll hear about the work Greens are doing at local level, putting energy and creativity into communities and showing that when people feel empowered to act they can often achieve far more than they thought possible.

Greens in local government are doing this here in Scotland and far beyond. We’re making the case to give communities more of the power they need. The conference will decide about how we’re facing challenges like Scotland’s need for a transition to a post-oil economy and the country’s future relationship with the wider world, including our continued commitment to Scotland’s future as an independent European country.

Our members will also have the chance to meet many of the organisations working with us, and to share experiences with Green activists around the country.

I’m perhaps most excited to hear from the wonderful Lord Mayor of Sheffield, the illustrious Magid Magid.

Born in Northern Somalia, Magid came as a child refugee to Britain in 1994. He is the youngest ever Lord Mayor of Sheffield and the first Green Party councillor to hold the role.

He famously banned the “wasteman” Donald Trump from Sheffield and used his inaugural speech at the council to condemn racism and post-Brexit xenophobia.

We’ll once again hear from a member of the big Green family across Europe who’ll no doubt once again remind us of Scotland’s integral place in Europe. This time it’ll be from Senator Grace O’Sullivan, a member of the Irish Greens who was a former activist on Greenpeace vessels, including the Rainbow Warrior, and she was Ireland’s first female Irish national surf champion.

It’s appropriate that we’ll meet in Glasgow at the same venue where, almost two years ago, the European Green Party met for its annual congress. There, Monica Frassoni, the co-chair of the European Greens, reminded us that our movement stands united with Scotland in “efforts to retain membership of the European Union”.

Monica also told us she was impressed by how committed the Scots and in particular the Scottish Greens are to the promotion of European values of peace, democracy and bringing people together. I think that’s a timely reminder that when people join the Greens, they’re not just campaigning for a party, they’re campaigning with a Green family.

After this weekend, readers of the National will be even more certain of Greens’ shared commitment to change politics and to change society for the better.