IT’S hard to look at the heartbreaking images that have filled our screens this year – of people in Greece being left bereft by the great floods or homes in Canada consumed by flames – without being overwhelmed by emotion.

It’s distressing for everyone. For Greens of my Mum’s generation who were ringing the alarm bells back in the 80s, when we still could have had time to act more slowly; and for young people coming to terms with the critical condition of the world they’re growing up in.

Exposed to these scenarios and constant disasters, little wonder that climate anxiety for young people is through the roof. No wonder they are rising in protest.

The clock of the climate emergency is ticking louder with every passing day. The summer has seen environmental carnage spreading across our planet.

Despite the chaos, we must ensure that we don’t give up hope, that we can believe in change, and that we do all we can to undo the harm caused by previous governments who ignored the alarm bells and sat on their hands, or worse still colluded with the fossil fuel industry propagandists to block progress.

Just imagine if those leaders had recognised the weight of responsibility and the impact of their decisions and responded differently. Instead, all of those wasted years of inaction means that the steps we have to take now will have to be even greater and quicker.

Yet, despite the urgency, we often find ourselves trapped in circular bad-faith discussions about whether we should even be taking the most basic action.

We’ve seen it at a global level, with successive COP climate conferences where powerful global leaders have spent days hunched over their desks arguing about the intricacies of language and whether they should be talking about “phasing out” or “phasing down” the use of lethal fossil fuels. All the while some of their neighbours are literally sinking.

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Even here in Scotland we are seeing opposition parties using our climate policy as a weapon in a counterproductive and destructive culture war exercise.

We saw it when the Tories torpedoed Scotland’s can and bottle recycling scheme and then delayed their own one indefinitely. We see it again and again when they line up to oppose even the smallest and most basic changes.

It’s a scathing indictment of their cynicism and warped priorities that even now, when things are at code red for our planet, they are whipping up a panic against local air quality initiatives, like low-traffic neighbourhoods, and spending time and energy talking about “ending” an imaginary war on motorists.

The rhetoric and knee-jerk opposition of politics can be so tiresome and counterproductive.

But then a week like this one comes along. Days when I can look at the work being done within the Scottish Government and see not just the determination to get things done, but the cooperation and expertise making it happen.

This week, we saw how the early years of the Greens’ cooperation agreement with the Scottish Government is turning words into action and starting to deliver. With more than £2 billion for renewable energy, the Programme for Government has green policies right at its heart. That’s real action and real money that is making a real difference.

With action to speed up the planning process for renewables and to create more jobs in wind and solar industries, we are laying down the foundations of the long overdue shift away from fossil fuels and towards a greener future.

I saw where Green change leads last month when I joined Scotland’s Energy Secretary, Neil Gray, for the opening of the Greengairs East Wind Farm. It’s a project which has delivered real jobs and is providing clean, green energy to a local community previously blighted by opencast coal and landfills.

I understand the seduction and the appeal of making easy opposition speeches. There is a comfort in being able to demand perfection without needing to deliver anything

But every single renewable project is worth far more to our climate than 1000 powerless speeches. I want to see projects like it all over our country, but that is only going to happen if there are Green voices pushing for it in government and on the streets.

That is how we will deliver climate action for today, for tomorrow, for the future and for everyone.

The kind of change we are delivering may scare the vested interests and the culture warriors, but there is a new generation that is crying out for it. Young people in particular recognise the scale of the challenge ahead and know that we have to change.

That desire for a better and more sustainable future is what gives me hope. It is what lit the spark of the Fridays for Future school strikes that began with Greta Thunberg in Sweden but have grown into a global movement.

Next weekend thousands of people will take to the streets of Edinburgh for the Climate March. Organised by End Fossil Fuels Scotland as part of a global day of action, it will be a clarion call for green change and an end to new oil and gas exploration.

The decisions we make today will endure for far longer than any individual government or Prime Minister and will be felt by people across the world for generations to come. It will be the action that we do or don’t take now that they judge us by.