24 October 2021
The Herald

How Green is Scotland? 26 visions for hope ahead of COP26

Over the last five days The Herald and The Ferret have published a series of in-depth reports ahead of COP26, offering readers exclusive insight into the current state of Scotland’s environment.

How Green Is Scotland? was produced after two months of digging by a team of Ferret journalists who investigated a range of pressing issues linked to the climate crisis.

Our exposés included a story revealing the dangerous levels of air pollution in Scotland’s streets and a report on Scotland’s biggest polluting companies.

We also looked at the impact of climate change on our natural habitats and wildlife, how Scotland’s rivers and lochs are officially in the worst state on record, and revealed how the Scottish Government is failing to meet its climate targets.

Environmental and wildlife groups responded to our findings by calling for urgent action to combat the twin climate change and wildlife crises, and help preserve Scotland’s natural heritage. Our reports also included responses from the Scottish Government and other official bodies tasked with overseeing environmental problems.

But we also wanted to give space to some of the hundreds of people across Scotland who are thinking through, and working on solutions, and so for the final day of our series we spoke to those with innovative and inspiring ideas to help tackle the crisis – voices that are often sidelined.

We asked them to outline their vision for how Scotland could create a more sustainable and hopeful future.

Ellie Harrison

Transport is the biggest contributor to climate change in Scotland, and deserves “urgent attention,” according to artist and campaigner Ellie Harrison, who wants a fully integrated, protected public transport network similar to Switzerland’s.

“We urgently need to deliver a world-class, fully-integrated public transport system, which means no matter where you live you can get around easily without needing to own a car,” she says.

“This is only achievable with complete public control over the network, so our regional transport authorities can plan bus routes and timetables to integrate seamlessly with trains, trams, Subway and cycle hire.”

“This system must be up-and-running so that by 2030 public transport has become the default option for everyone to get around. The only way we’re going to achieve behaviour change on that scale is if we make all regional public transport free.”