Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Lobby MSPs on Climate Change and See a Film to Change the World!

Trailer for The Age of Stupid (see below)

Lobby MSPs on Climate Change

Scotland’s Climate Change Bill was published in December and was welcomed by green activists as a good start for world-leading legislation. However, it is vital that UNISON branches and members take action urgently to lobby MSPs to strengthen the Bill in key ways. The better we can make the Bill, the greater influence it might have on other countries in a crucial year for action on global warming.

United Nations talks take place in December 2009 in Copenhagen to determine the successor to the Kyoto Treaty. Scottish Organiser Dave Watson urged UNISON members to email and visit their MSPs. He said: “Climate change already affects the lives of millions of people and if the world doesn’t act this year on strong, international legally binding emissions cuts, we risk dangerous runaway climate change.
“Please take the time to contact your MSPs.”

Full details and an easy ‘click to email your MSPs’ link is at

The information there includes four ways to push for the UNISON four main ‘asks’. The Bill is being scrutinised by the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee, so we are especially keen for members whose MSPs are on that Committee to take part in lobbying. Contact details for the eight Committee members are on that page.

The Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition, of which UNISON is a member, is organising a Climate Change Rally and lobby of MSPs. Meet outside the Scottish Parliament, 11am to 2pm Wed, 22 April. Watch SCCS and UNISON websites for updates and full details once available.

UNISON’s four main ‘asks’ are that the Bill:
• reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050.
• sets statutory targets of at least 3% year on year emission reductions.
• includes emissions from international aviation and shipping in the reduction targets.
• sets strong targets for the public sector to lead by example, with negotiated green workplace agreements.

Our Briefing on the Bill is on the UNISON-Scotland website at:

Going to the cinema in March can help save the planet - how you and your branch can campaign about The Age of Stupid. Join Not Stupid!

Influencing Copenhagen is also the aim of The Age of Stupid – a ‘documentary-drama-animation’ starring Pete Postlethwaite and directed by Franny Armstrong, who made McLibel. Franny said that Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth "did a fantastic job at bringing the public up-to-speed on the science of climate. The Age of Stupid takes the baton from Gore and examines the moral, psychological and human consequences of our current way of life." A parallel campaign called Not Stupid aims to inspire 250 million viewers to become virtual or physical climate activists, focused on the UN talks in Copenhagen in December.

The film has six interwoven human stories filmed in America, the UK, India, Nigeria, Iraq, Jordan and the Alps. Pete said: “The opening sequence is phenomenal. It’s Spielberg, eat your heart out.” He plays an old man in a devastated 2055 world, asking, “Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?” The stories highlight oil, war, exploitation, inequalities, and ‘human stupidity’ in ignoring facts.

Franny wants the film to “be part of the sea change in awareness which leads to the greatest ever public uprising which in turn forces the world's Governments to make a binding international agreement to cut global emissions so as to stabilise global temperatures below two degrees and keep the planet habitable for humans and other species.”

She says we can all play our part, starting with going to see the film in its first week from 20 March, following a ‘People’s Premiere’ advance one night only screening around the UK, including Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness on March 15. First week figures determine how widely and for how long the film is shown and if it does well here, that will help it snowball to success and influence internationally. ‘Indie’ screenings can be organised from May 1st and a DVD will be on sale in June/July.

Information taken from UNISON Scotland's Green Network News - Environment Issue 2 Jan 2009

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