The state of our planet has reached a critical point. From polluted oceans, carbon emissions, and vast amounts of waste, the time to act is NOW. That’s why Scotland is taking action.
Scotland is the first country to declare a climate emergency as of April 29, promising to cut down carbon emissions among other movements to limit damage to the environment.
Inspired by young, Scottish climate campaigners who went on strike from school to demand action, the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the declaration is a “public promise” to act on global warming.
With the declaration of a climate emergency, Scotland has set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045. This means Scotland wants to reach a point where the amount of energy provided by renewable energy sources is equal to the amount of energy used. That’s an exciting goal.
On May 1, the U.K. Parliament also joined the movement, followed by Ireland on May 9. But in just 11 years, climate change is expected to reach an irreversible stage, according to the United Nations, and major polluters such as the United States still haven’t jumped on board. But Scotland is serious about taking action towards not only a better climate but a better planet in general. Here’s what else they’re doing.
Ever thought about how much plastic pollution ends up in the oceans every year? 8 million tons. That’s 15 truck fulls every minute. Gross. In an effort to battle waste and encourage recycling, Scotland has just introduced a bottle deposit scheme in shops. At the counter, customers will be charged an additional 20p ($0.26) deposit for every plastic, glass, or aluminum bottle purchased. Customers are then encouraged to return their bottles for recycling and get their deposit back. The deposit may seem small, but it’s a simple process that encourages recycling, while also cutting down waste and battling the amounts of plastic pollution that enters the oceans yearly.
Beyond that, Scotland and the U.K. as a whole, have implemented a ban on several single-use plastic items starting in April 2020. The banned items include: plastic straws, drink stirrers, and cotton buds. Come on, 2020! We’re ready.
In March 2016, Scotland shut down Longannet Power Station, the country’s last running coal energy plant. As it was the largest plant in Europe, Longannet was responsible for more than a fifth of Scotland’s carbon emissions. Now Scotland is completely coal-free, no longer depending on coal for energy.
Scotland has become a world leader in sourcing electricity from renewable resources and even had a record year in 2017 for creating eco-friendly energy. That’s because in the first six months of 2017, all of Scotland’s 3 million households were powered completely by wind energy. It also covered more than half of the country’s total energy, including businesses and industrial factories.
Scotland continues to make great efforts towards renewable energy. The country is investing in an interesting source: tidal currents. Tidal turbines are similar to wind turbines, but instead of above ground, they are one hundred feet below the water and use tides instead of wind to generate power. Perfect for Scotland.
According to BBC, it’s estimated the seas around the U.K. could one day be able to generate 20% of electricity requirements. Scotland is so ecstatic about its tidal energy that they’ve announced £10 million of funding towards commercializing tidal energy to generate power in Scottish waters.
Those are just some of the highlights of Scotland’s battle on climate change and its strive for a better, healthier planet. We can only hope that Scotland’s great example can continue to encourage participation from major polluting countries (and the whole world, of course!). The time to fight is now.