‘DANGEROUS”, “lawless” and “completely unacceptable.” These are a few of the terms that the Scottish Tory net-zero spokesperson Liam Kerr used against me and the other activists who took part in a Climate Camp Scotland mass trespass at the Port of Aberdeen in July.

Despite the totally expected nonsense from the Tories, I was proud and humbled to be there.

It was a positive, hopeful and inspiring protest that brought dozens of local people, climate activists and social justice campaigners together to take action and to talk about and explore the future we want for our city and our world.

We are facing a cost of living crisis and a climate emergency that are both being driven in no small part by the self-interest and greed of fossil fuel companies and the incompetence and cruelty of the Tory government that Liam Kerr supports.

This summer we have seen soaring temperatures and eye-watering profits for oil and gas giants: with Shell, BP and Centrica all reporting some of their biggest profits to date. At the same time, millions of people are being hit like never before by a toxic mix of cuts, rising prices and bills that they have no way of paying.

This week analysts at Cornwall Insights warned that energy bills could go as high as £4200 next year. If that is what happens, or even anything close to it, then it will be a social emergency for our country. Many people won’t just be struggling to get by, they will be forced to choose between freezing and starving.

READ MORE: RMT take pay protest to Scottish Tory Edinburgh headquarters

Figures published this week show that households across Scotland are already in £86 million worth of debt to energy companies, which will only get worse in the months ahead. Things can’t go on like this. It’s not sustainable and it’s not right.

This is the biggest crisis that we have seen for generations. It needs a response far beyond anything the Tories have done before and would ever do by choice.

That was the backdrop for the action in Aberdeen Harbour, and a big part of the reason why so many local people were prepared to put their bodies and possibly their freedom on the line. We were all there with a knowledge of the risk we were taking, but also with the certainty that we had to act.

Non-violent direct action has a long and proud history in the Green movement and in liberation struggles and protests across Scotland and beyond. It is a vital and democratic way to mobilise activists to call for change and draw attention to an issue.

Whether it is the thousands of young people who were inspired to act for the first time by the School Strikes, or the many who have taken part in movements against GM crops, bypass extensions or nuclear weapons, it is a key part of our DNA.

I was proud to stand in support and solidarity with the people I represent. The fact we were in Old Torry is no coincidence. The history of the land is the history of polluters putting profits ahead of people. Many local residents lost their homes to make way for the harbour – they were effectively cleared from their land to make way for private companies who have subsequently made billions from the extraction of Scotland’s energy resources.

As one former resident, Elizabeth Finlayson, said: “The Torry people were helpless against the giant oil companies. Gradually the houses were vacated and as each family moved out, for the most part unwillingly, the windows were boarded up, the door securely padlocked. House after house was emptied until Old Torry resembled a ghost city.”

The people of Old Torry and Aberdeen found themselves on the frontline of oil and gas, with so many of the people and skills that built Scotland’s oil industry being concentrated there.

Now the same communities can play a crucial role in building and shaping our just transition and a shift away from oil and gas to renewables and towards a post-fossil fuel age. They can be at the very forefront of the change and of the green industrial revolution that we so badly need.

One of the most urgent points in the cooperation agreement between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government, and one that I am proudest of, is the £500m just transition fund that my Green colleagues and I secured in negotiations. This will be vital in ensuring a fairer, greener and better future for the people I represent.

If we want a liveable future then we have no choice. Renewable energy is the cleanest and cheapest energy, it has to be a big part of our future and of the future of Torry. Every day that household bills are inextricably linked to global gas prices is another day of pain both for people and our planet.

There is no doubt that the months ahead will be brutal. The destitution that so many are facing represents a failure of Westminster and of an energy market and a system that has pursued maximum oil and gas extraction.

The National: National Extra Scottish politics newsletter banner

Things can be much better than this. Independence is part of the change we need, but it is not the only part. We need to rebuild our economy and restructure our society. It may be a daunting proposition, but anything less than that – any politics that does not give people hope – is not a politics that I have any interest in being a part of.

The future I want to see is not the one being pursued by Liam Kerr and his Tory colleagues.

They have made it clear that they are going to do nothing to stop people starving. They are going to let people freeze to death and are going to stop people protesting about it!

Rather, the politics of hope is the positive and optimistic vision that inspired us to come together at Aberdeen Harbour. Every day that I represent people in the North East, whether in the Parliamentary chamber or in the community, I will do everything I can to turn that vision into a reality.