AS Greens meet in Dunfermline for our autumn conference, the work we’re doing for our environment has never been more important.

If there were ever any doubts about the overwhelming and destructive power of nature, then they must have been vanquished by the power of Storm Babet and last week’s terrible floods. Parts of our country saw a full month’s worth of rainfall over the course of three days.

It unleashed a series of local disasters. Essential shops, roads and schools were closed, lots of medical appointments were cancelled and much of our transport system ground to a halt in large parts of the country.

Perthshire bore the brunt of much of it and the village I live in was partially closed off from the world by impassable roads – we weren’t the only ones.

The human stories, and the human costs, were even more severe, with people injured and hundreds of homes evacuated. Some people lost everything and tragically some even lost their lives.

Emergency service workers and volunteers are working hard on the recovery, but it will be a long process. Some of the families who were forced out of their homes have been told they are unlikely to be able to return this year.

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With further yellow warnings scheduled for this weekend and a long, cold winter ahead, there isn’t going to be much in the way of relief.

These kinds of extreme weather events are only becoming more common, and they are happening all over the world. Whether it is scorching-hot summers and wildfires or wild floods in the winter, our environment is changing around us.

It’s exactly the kind of destruction that environmentalists have been warning about for decades. What we lacked was the power to respond to the growing crisis happening in front of our eyes.

The Green movement may have been ahead of its time, but the action we were calling for was not. Had governments listened and acted when the alarm bells were ringing then we wouldn’t need to take such drastic action now.

Some governments took an early lead but, at least here in Scotland, we simply didn’t have the powers or the opportunity to turn green policies into action.

That’s why, for me, the co-operation agreement between the Scottish Greens and the SNP has been so important. It has allowed us to turn rhetoric into action and take some of the environmental steps that we otherwise would not have been able to.

From the ban on new incineration to free bus travel for everyone under 22, and from the single-use plastic ban to record funding for nature restoration and walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure, these first steps have only come about because we have had green voices around the table and green decision-makers in positions of power.

There is a long way to go and, of course, it can be difficult to be a party of government.

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Not least when it is with another party where you don’t always agree on everything. The compromises, the negotiations, the collaboration and the policy discussions all take time. But I’ve also seen the other side. I’ve been in opposition before. The entire of my first two terms as an MSP were spent in opposition.

There were some high points and we made some scraps of progress, but a lot of the time it felt like shouting into a void. We had to rely on others to deliver for us rather than having Scottish Greens in a position to influence and lead from the front.

Speeches that call for perfection may make for good politics and sometimes even for good listening, but they don’t achieve anywhere near as much.

The terrible scenes we saw in Brechin and beyond must surely be a wake-up call, not just in Holyrood but across the UK, about the huge urgency of redoubling our efforts to cut our emissions and climate-proof our communities.

Yet, despite the devastating evidence all around us, and despite repeated warnings and dire climate projections, the pace of change has been far too slow and is still nowhere near to meeting the growing challenges.

One place where the calls urgently need to be heard is in Downing Street, where, despite UN warnings that we are at the stage of global boiling, the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues have committed to more than 100 new oil and gas exploration licences. It is probably the single most reckless and destructive act of Rishi Sunak’s disastrous tenure.

We need to pull out all the stops if we are to have any kind of sustainable future.

This weekend, the Scottish Green conference in Dunfermline will be reflecting on the journey we have made as a party, but also on how we can continue to deliver for our environment while improving the lives of every Scot.

A serious response to the climate emergency is one that puts people’s wellbeing first and creates climate protections and livelihoods that can last for the long term.

It will help create prosperity to meet people’s needs without trashing the planet.

We already know what the cost of inaction looks like. We only need to look around us.

For years, the climate crisis has been at our door – now it is literally forcing people out of their homes. We all need to act if we are to stop the climate chaos of the last week from becoming our new normal.