A AM a millennial – come at me, internet! – an so A pit aff a guid deal o time oan Instagram. Fir generation Z, thon’s Tic Tok, but some o the videos disnae move. Fir generation X, thon’s like Freens Reunitit but wi mair photies. Fir baby boomers, thon’s like a buik but wi an infinite nummer o fou colour plates. On Instagram A follae pals, businesses, airtists, stationers (mmmm), podcasts (cf millennial), polítical causes. In ma feed there is adverts an aw – targeted ads learn me whit the algorithm hinks o me. A’m advertised bairnie hings (tick), ethical claes (tick), traivel stuff (tick), creative warkshoaps (jingso – tickity tick).

Hing is, whit thae advertisers dinnae ken yet is A’ve jist stertit tae follae Extinction Rebellion Scotland, an ma feed is interspersed wi photies an video o the international rebellion happenin the noo. XR rebels is shuttin doon roads, brigs, oaffices aw ower the warld, in acts o non-violent cívil disobedience. A bricht hashtag-ad photie o a bonnie, napa leather, 2020 planner luiks lik a piece o daftness, if no malevolence, whan it’s up agin fowk trauchlin tae keep this planet habitable. A merk o the success o the rebellion’s aim tae shock us oot o “business as usual” is that oniebody that’s cairryin oan as usual luiks like they are sellin ethically made fiddles while Rome burns. Except it’s the lungs o the warld that’s burnin.

But ken whit else luiks kinda paltry oan ma feed neist tae facks anent the utter terror o a 3˚C heeze in global temperatures? All Under One Banner mairches. A’m an independence advocate an campaigner. A believe a independent Scotland wuid mak better decísions aboot the climate emergency nor Westminster (lee it in the grund, Nicola), an A believe fowk suid tak pairt in polítical action. But a sea o saltires – again – seemed like a nice, “nae danger” pat oan the back. A fine dey oot that gies us an unseasonable tan (cf climate chynge) an a sense o control as we mairch alang the prescribed route tae ask, polite-like, fir a constitutional shift.

A’m aye at thae mairches masel, waffin flags an banners, singin sangs, an feelin passionate, proactive an prood – fir Scottish independence, agin Brexit, agin Trump’s vísit. But it’s the sicht o thae mairches compared tae images o the rebels in Lunnon, or Australia, or Indonesia. Photies o Embrae’s High Street dowsed in cheerisome sky-blue, alangside o first-haun acoonts fae indigenous peoples at the front line o the disasters that we’ve been rainin doon oan them wi oor business as usual fir decades. In lands we’ve herriet.

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Extinction Rebellion his a clear vísion, whit ye can luik at online or whan they’re oot campaignin – they want tae mobilise 3.5% o the population tae achieve system chynge. Ane o their principles is “we openly challenge ourselves and our toxic system – leaving our comfort zones to take action for change”. It’s no comfortable. An that’s whit independence campaignin, an anti-Brexit campaignin an the rest can feel like tae me – comfortable. It’s no comfortable tae hink at aw aboot climate chaos. The mental health o climate scientists his been fund tae be in a crisis state. Unnerstaunin the science, but no bein able tae communicate the imminence an danger tae a unresponsive public an deliberately ignorant politícians taks its toll.

I’m no suggestin we cancel awthing until we’ve come speed oan Greta Thunberg’s aims tae “protect, restore, fund”. It’s no that there will be nae joy until Quannah Chasinghorse, Juwaria Jama or onie o the ither braw young activists is heard. A’m still passionate aboot hings ayont the climate: airts fundin, minority leids, decolonisation, Scottish independence, European federalism – aw thae hings. But it’s time tae step oot o oor comfort zones.

As a teenager A looed the buik The Assassin’s Cloak, edited by Alan an Irene Taylor. It’s a muckle collection o diary entries frae historical fígures (mainly scrievin in English), the likes o William Soutar, Anne Frank, Jimmy Boyle, Naomi Mitchison. A yaised tae read ilka dey’s entries in ma bed or A dovered ower. A wis aye struck by entries frae important deys – the stert o a war, the dey o a massacre, or some polítical upheaval. Aftentimes the writers didnae mention the event in their personal diary. Mibbe they newsed aboot it wi pals, or read aboot it in the paper, but thae historical shifts an dangers didnae scart their lifes deep eneuch tae mak it intae the pairt o thirsels that scrieved a diary. An thae dangers were scartin some lifes deep eneuch tae bleed them dry.

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Fir teenage Ishbel, it sterted a po-faced attempt tae add polítical events intae ma diary – “Had English test. Did rubbish because so stupid. Iraq war started which is so bad”. But the hing was – A wis comfortable. The Iraq war didnae mak me uncomfortable – whether or no Johnnie Whit’s-his-face wuid ivver fancy me made me uncomfortable. A’m aware that haein columns oan climate chynge in wi ma columns oan the Baby Box, or Ulster Scots, or Burns Suppers micht seem like the same shin-horn but it isnae. A’m uncomfortable noo. It’s time tae accept we aw suid be.