TO live within our planetary means, we will have to change many aspects of how we live and our wider economy works. Scotland is a resource-rich country and well situated to tackle each of the seven major environmental challenges – climate change, species extinction, pollution, water shortages, overconsumption, deforestation and soil degradation.

While the scale is big, there are very few countries better equipped to take on these challenges than Scotland. However, we can’t afford to see the environment as an attention grabber to make platitudes about. We need a coherent strategy which integrates our policy outlook with our political outlook. Our response to the British state and the climate crisis are inextricably linked. With independence we are offering a radical change from British political institutions, but we must also have continuity with radical change needed to tackle the climate crisis. The dismantling of British power can rupture these institutions and energise transformation to a Green New Deal.

We can’t expect to replicate the same British institutions without replicating the same errors that come with it. The UK economic model has failed the Scottish people and failed the environment. If Scotland is to have something different then we need to offer people genuine change and that’s what the Green New Deal represents.

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The Green New Deal is a chance for optimism in what can often seem like a cold and miserable moment in time. We have already experienced the part of the story that tells us what is happening and challenges we face. The next step is to begin to ask ourselves what is the opportunity that we have in this moment? Yes, there is a lot of work ahead of us if we are to do this, but what we can achieve at the end is something worth fighting for.

We have the opportunity to reorient our economy to serve the interests of those who are affected by it. Measuring the success of our economy on how well it achieves social and environmental impact, we can prioritise investing in the sustainable development of our communities.

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Development is all about making things better, not just bigger. We have the chance to achieve this, but what we really need now is the willpower to do it. At a time when there is division within the SNP, we need to get behind something which can unite us. We’re all affected by the climate crisis and we must unite behind the ideas which won’t just bring the party together, but are best situated to deliver the necessary change needed in our society. We need a forum for people to debate these ideas. The SNP Common Weal Group (CWG) can offer the grassroots members this space. Now is not the time for thinking small, now is the time for the SNP to

come together. We need a campaign that won’t just speak to the grassroots but give them a voice. A voice to say that we want to work alongside the environment and that we want an economy that values people’s wellbeing.

Nicola Sturgeon laid out the foundations of a Green New Deal in her latest Programme for Government. It is the job of SNP party members to build on these foundations and create a society which can have the chance to tackle the coming environmental challenges.

If we want change, we can’t ignore the important role the grassroots play in achieving that change. And that is exactly what the CWG aims to achieve – to give the grassroots a voice and to make change happen.