THERE is something intrinsically sad about Brexit day. There is of course the loss of European citizenship to be mourned, but there is also the fact that it represents a trajectory of global geopolitics which is seeing the hard-fought gains of civilisation being denigrated and disregarded.

This is a trajectory where demonising foreigners has become normalised again.

A trajectory where democratic nations have seen the very fabric of that democracy undermined by increasingly authoritarian right-wing governments.

It is also a trajectory which has seen the polarisation of wealth. This growing inequality has meant real power and influence is held by fewer and fewer people while the cost and conditions of living declines for ordinary people.

It is up to us to turn this trajectory around. We can and must turn it around. For as quickly as it has taken hold, it can just as quickly be reversed.

Just 20 years ago, there was a realisation among my peers that my generation could be living through a “golden age”. The advance of human rights and equalities legislation coupled with economic growth meant that we were far better off than the generations before us, those who had pioneered social justice and the welfare state, the civil rights movement.

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There was an awareness of global warming and climate degradation, but the reality of the urgency of the situation had yet to really have an impact on people’s lives.

Ten years ago, we were discussing how frightening the apparent rise of the far right was, how there were alarming echoes of the early 20th century. But such views were still viewed as extreme by the majority.

Now we are at a place where America is keeping immigrant children in concentration camps. Where the Prime Minister of the UK tried to illegally prorogue parliament. And where virtually no one in real positions of power acknowledges the significance of the changes that are coming our way due to the climate catastrophe.

With climate, significant change is coming, whether our governments make significant changes to the way we live or whether they continue to delay and hesitate and let it over-run us. Change is inevitable, and we can apply the same notion to Scotland’s relationship with Europe and the world.

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So yes, Brexit Day is deeply sad because it is part of a wider tragedy. Today the UK is stepping away from an organisation of 27 democratic countries dedicated to peace, prosperity and human rights. Its primary aim was peace, and it has succeeded. Before the 20th century, the nations of Europe went to war against each other several times a year. We are all children of the long peace that followed. It is unthinkable that those who have forgotten the horror of war on our own doorstep could break from that peace-building institution, that they could even refuse to support lone children fleeing war elsewhere, as the UK did in the last world war. Yet those are exactly the positions of the UK Government.

The National:

It is completely natural to mourn the split from the peace project that is the EU. It is also completely natural to seek ways to rekindle it.

And as we start to build our case to do that, we can look at sparks of hope emerging across the world. There are countries, mostly small ones who are setting a different path. Costa Rica abolished its military. No Costa Rican mother will now have to worry that her child will be sent to war. New Zealand is looking at basing its economic planning on a wellbeing model, rather than GDP. It has stopped investment in oil exploration. Finland has a government led by young women defending diversity and young people. Sweden has hit its target of zero-carbon domestic heating throughout the country.

There is no reason why Scotland can’t add a spark of our own. It is my deepest hope that we will.

An independent Scotland can join these other small countries in leading the way into a different future. Big countries take longer to change, while smaller nations can play a role in the greater world by being nimble, showing what is possible and avoiding superpower delusions.

With all the levers of change at our disposal, with our own seat on the European council and more MEPs, with the sheer potential of renewable energy we have in Scotland, think of the influence we could have.

To win this, we need the energy of a campaign for independence which has at its heart real purpose, real ambition for change. A radical proposal that recognises why the UK has failed and seeks to create something different. That is why the Scottish Greens today launch our own Green Yes campaign. We recognise that this dark day is not just about mourning what is lost, but about building something new. What clearer way is there to reject the trajectory of doom, than to build a new sustainable and more equal future together?