I AM not alone in having had a traumatic 2020 and looking forward to a much better time in 2021.

Lockdown meant I was unable to visit many of my favourite Scottish wildlife sites and forced Susan and me to postpone our visit to the Cairngorms, Skye and Mull, which seriously dampened my spirits. Added to that, I had a heart attack followed by a Covid-19 infection! I am pleased to say that I am now back in rude health and looking forward to the future. My determination to fight for positive change is undampened.

What are my wishes for 2021? Our precious wildlife has had a mixed year. Lockdown has allowed some species sensitive to disturbance, such as seals and terns, to have a good breeding season. However, the lack of footfall in the uplands may have coincided with a larger number of incidents of persecution of our birds of prey.

The good news for Scottish wildlife is that our government has pledged to introduce the licensing of grouse shooting estates and have given year-round protection to mountain hares. Penalties have also been increased for wildlife offences – I look forward to seeing what effect these changes will have. Let us hope these measures are implemented quickly and bear fruit.

Some may say that it is wrong to compare the future of our wildlife with the future of humanity. It is my hope that, in 2021, there will be an increasing realisation that they cannot be separated.

We live in a world which is over-populated, and which is using our resources at an increasingly rapid rate. Competition between nations to achieve maximum growth for their people has resulted in use which is unsustainable.

The view that we can continue in this way and rely on technology to solve the problems that this creates cannot be justified.

Those advocating the free market to solve our problems often quote the Darwinian phrase “survival of the fittest”, but most would say that it is survival of the fittest species which matters, not the fittest individuals. How would we judge fitness? Is the millionaire footballer worth more than the ambulance worker who can save lives using CPR?

Since the 16th century humans have presided over the extinction of 680 vertebrate species. The UN Environment programme estimates that human action results in between 150 and 200 dying out every day, many of which have not even been described by science. My hope therefore is the EU directives which will no longer be enforceable in the UK, such as those related to biodiversity and the environment, can be put into Scottish law as soon as practical. However, the ultimate control over these issues can only be achieved if Scotland gains its autonomy.

My final wish for 2021 is that racism and inequality are confined to history and no longer have a place in a modern democracy. Everyone, from the heads of government to the individual citizen, need to pledge not to tolerate prejudice in any form and will use what power they can to end it.

Pete Rowberry

I AM an English lady who married a Scot and have lived in Scotland for more than 40 years.

I have grown to love this beautiful country and looked forward to its desire for independence in 2014.

I voted Yes in that referendum and was disappointed when we lost the vote.

I believe the main reason we lost was currency – the UK Government refused the use of the pound sterling and there seemed to be no plan for any alternative. Why was this action not foreseen? Surely these circumstances must have been discussed before the referendum.

In May 2021 there is a Scottish election, hopefully followed by indyref2. Is this currency question going to be in the forefront of discussions, or is it going to be a repeat of 2014?

Jennifer McKenzie