Most Scots think that the environment ranks equally in importance with the economy – when considered in global terms.
But, when asked about what matters particularly to Scotland, they think the economy essential. It seems many Scots still have to be persuaded to think about the environment in a local sense rather than as a global issue.
The results of the Scottish Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours Survey (SEABS) 2008 were published in early March. This survey was conducted by face-to-face interviews of over 3,000 Scots over 16 between August and November 2008.
Consequences of climate change such as flooding and milder winters affect all of us in Scotland. But do people see the connection? Apparently, a third of people interviewed did not believe that their behaviour contributes to the problem – and just under half thought that the cost of dealing with climate change should not be a Scottish Government expense. Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:
“We need to do more to get people to see the environment as a local issue. Many people see climate change as a global problem but not as an issue affecting Scotland or their communities. But milder winters and more floods mean the evidence is now on our doorstep and can no longer be ignored. “People have to realise that they are a fundamental part of the environment. Just as we impact on it, it has an impact on us. Our own behaviour makes a real difference and the good news is that greener behaviour not only helps save the planet it helps save us money too.”
We all know that we should take our reusable bags to the supermarket now. We are getting quite used to it. We all know about the recycling of newspapers, but hardly anyone knows the energy rating of an electrical appliance bought in the last year. Driving is still the most common form of transport for commuting and grocery shopping. So, would it be a good idea if the Scottish Government takes the lead and heeds the advice from the Scottish Labour Party at the weekend to invest in electric cars? Allied Vehicles of Glasgow have asked the Scottish Government to buy 1,000 vehicles at a cost of £15million. This would not only create around 100 jobs but it would allow the company to become a European leader , according to the Labour Party’s economy spokesman. As well as encouraging the Government to buy the cars themselves, there are also calls to local authorities to invest in the infrastructure which would be necessary to allow their use. John Park went on to say:-
“These clean, green vehicles are the outcome of three years of research and development by Allied Vehicles. “To make them a common sight on the High Street, the company need local authorities to invest in recharging stations and help from the Scottish Government.”
Sarah Boyack, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, said:
“If this industry is supported properly then electric cars could be regarded as commonplace over the next few years and the potential for job creation is substantial. “The government needs to step up a gear and help develop a mass market for these low emission vehicles.” Gerry Facenna, Chairman of Allied Vehicles said in an interview with The Herald last year “With the right investment Scotland will become Europe’s leader in the production of electric vehicles. “Electric power offers an ideal solution, especially for congested urban areas where traffic is stop-start for much of the day with zero emissions of any type. “This is an opportunity to create hundreds of highly skilled and well paid jobs that could sustain the Scottish economy for years to come and contribute to improving the environment for all of us.”
Allied has a total workforce of about 360, with sales staff based around the UK in addition to its employees at its Possil factory. So we have to hope the Government will have a spark of inspiration and give them the financial boost they need.