A FEW weeks ago, I saw an advert from the BBC, asking for people to submit questions to its Conservative leadership debate.

At first I rolled my eyes in a similar fashion to how I responded to Michael Gove’s comments on Tuesday, because politicians never seem to discuss the problems important to teenagers like me – such as the impending climate crisis.

I thought that perhaps it was time for someone to do something about that. I decided that I would be that person, that this was an opportunity to be bold in telling the next prime minister that something needs to be done about the state of the environment.

As someone who’s grown up in a time when we are teetering precariously on the edge of catastrophic and irreversible damage to our planet, I, like many of us, am well aware of the gravity of the environmental issues that we face.

Perhaps this was why I decided to challenge the Conservative Leadership candidates live on air, or perhaps it was out of sheer frustration that people like them, who hold the UK’s power, refuse to listen to the countless people like me who demand urgent action on climate change. In retrospect, I think it was a combination of both.

Many people argue that 2025 is an unrealistic target for zero emissions, but the reason I asked the candidates to commit to that, was to emphasise the fact that we should be making real drastic change so we can combat this issue as soon as possible.

I asked my question because I wanted to hold these people accountable to the public, to show them that it would not be so easy to shirk their environmental responsibility or shy away from difficult decisions.

We don’t have time to waste; we are already seeing the impacts of climate change around the world; in the weather, in the planet’s biodiversity, and in the many people who are suffering at the hands of environmental disasters.

This is why it’s crucial that the Government is answerable to us, and that we don’t make it easy for them, because this is not an easy issue, and it cannot wait. The simple fact of the matter is that the longer we take to address climate change, the more severe its effects will be. This is why I was determined to push these politicians to consider the future which they are leaving to people my age, and generations to come.

When I asked the men on stage if they would commit to net zero emissions by 2025, I didn’t anticipate a sufficient answer and was not at all shocked when I didn’t get one.

I fully expected them to list off their environmental accomplishments and wave their net zero 2050 targets in the face of the audience, as politicians tend to do.

They may take pride in the proposal of zero carbon emissions by 2050, but in reality this does nothing to help the environment in the time frame that is needed.

By 2050 they will be retired and it will no longer be their problem. How can we trust politicians if they don’t take action on this issue now – when in the future they won’t even be in power to deal with the consequences?

By 2050 the effects of climate change will be outwith our control, regardless of any actions which we take as a society. This is why we must act now while our efforts still count. I am disappointed but not in the least bit surprised that the urgency of the situation is something which many politicians don’t seem to grasp.

IT’S time for the government to listen to the people. Not just on a UK-wide level, but here in Scotland too. Scotland is a country with a rich variety of diverse and brilliant minds, which is just one of the reasons that it’s vital that the Government of our country consults with the people and works with them to find solutions to the climate crisis.

My hope for the future is that my generation’s children have the privilege of growing up surrounded by the natural Scottish beauty which I love, free from the threat of environmental degradation.

I want them to live in a sustainable and prosperous society where everyone is valued equally and politicians can be trusted and relied upon.

Nicola Sturgeon recently declared a climate emergency. This is an opportunity for us to create that future, for us to demand that politicians work with us, we just have to be bold enough to be the ones to take that step.