PERHAPS nowhere else in Scotland does the climate crisis truly crystallise itself than where I am in the Highlands and Islands.

We are at its epicentre, a ground zero, for both the challenges and the solutions that it presents.

Coastal erosion, rising sea levels, degraded peatlands, overgrazed lands, a fragmented, long-neglected rainforest, wildfires, higher energy and transport costs and a shortage of homes – these are just a snapshot of the issues to be confronted.

But we have also seen – among some of the very many benefits – the creation of thousands of new skilled jobs in renewables; the boost they bring to local economies; more investment in local infrastructure; training opportunities; record funding in nature restoration; and native tree planting.

Which is why it astounds me to see other politicians bury their heads in the sand on what we must all do to not just tackle the problems but to seize the opportunities.

While they obsess about never-ending campaigns to build more roads or shoot more birds, I am interested in how we can deliver more housing for not just our communities but the renewables workforce coming to live in rural Scotland.

Where they will live, how they will get there, what they will eat, where they might spend their hard-earned wages to support our local economies.

READ MORE: Wood-burning stoves 'banned in Scotland' under new building rules

How we can ensure their operations adopt best environmental practices and that they can all become good neighbours as the most responsible have pledged to do.

What benefits might be released to community benefit funds and, even better, community ownership?

How can the renewable energy that is generated by wave, wind, solar or other means not just connect to the grid in a reasonable and responsible way but help reduce our bills?

I’m interested to know how we can offer schoolchildren and older students a pathway to highly skilled, well-paid jobs on their doorsteps to reverse generations of depopulation by creating opportunities right here and now.

The National:

Take the University of the Highlands and Islands. Just look at how it has pivoted to provide skills and training opportunities, to dive headfirst into research and to position itself as a leading player in finding solutions to value chain and direct jobs markets.

It transcends the need for skills in renewables and forestry, environment and building and even has courses on the fundamentals of the climate emergency, to spotlight but a few, adapting to need and future thinking along the way.

We need to ensure we are doing everything we can to kickstart a just transition for our farming and agriculture industry.

We need to continue working to secure genuine land reform that doesn’t wallow in the past or further fortify the preserve of the gentry and to seek new ways to ensure our lands benefit all of us.

Last summer, a wildfire ripped through my region, setting a new record for the largest blaze of its type ever recorded in the whole of the UK.

READ MORE: Chinese renewables giant set to build wind turbine plant in Scotland

We know the risks to our emergency services and to our communities first hand. We witnessed widespread flooding and the chaos caused by landslides and closures, transport cancellations and upended trees.

The blackouts and ever more powerful storms resulted in tragic damage and loss.

All of which is why the climate crisis has to be our everything. Especially for those who vote or may be willing to vote for the Scottish Greens.

Not just in the Highlands and Islands of course, but all across Scotland. It needs to have our full focus because every single decision we take from here on in has a direct impact on future generations.

It will define where investment goes, what jobs are created and whether we can reduce emissions quickly enough.

The National: Patrick Harvie

My colleague Patrick Harvie (above) has been leading on how we deliver greener, warmer homes for Scotland on a scale that the Climate Change Committee says should be adopted by governments right across the UK.

That comes with challenges, of course, including the fact temperatures can be colder and logistics harder here but it is exactly this kind of transformational thinking we need if we are to reduce emissions and the threat to us all.

READ MORE: Scottish Government issues statement on 'wood-burning stove ban'

Our other Scottish Green minister, Lorna Slater (below), has been working tirelessly to secure investment in nature and biodiversity restoration, much of which has been coming to my region, helping to secure and create jobs as well as accelerate action on the ground.

The National: Lorna Slater

What happens in the Highlands and Islands acts as a springboard for the rest of the country. It is here we are pioneering ocean technologies, advancing wind turbines, trialling new ideas and growing a new future for change.

All of this, though, is against the backdrop of a UK Government that doesn’t listen, cuts vital budgets, has reversed its climate promises and is making it harder for a likely Labour government already rolling back on its commitments to step up too.

Yes, with the powers of independence we could do more, go faster, and make the right kind of choices to benefit Scotland in tackling the climate crisis. But we cannot, we must not simply pause behind this clear truth.

The decisions we take through our work in government, the commitments we make must be followed through with visible, tangible progress that accelerates the pace with brave, bold and even radical action.

Not to do so won’t just remove us as the epicentre of progressive change, it would leave us all stranded in the eye of the otherwise looming storm.