This week's Community Column is written by the Helensburgh and Lomond area's constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you have watched the news recently, you could be forgiven for thinking that the world was ending.

Our planet is facing some serious challenges, some of which we have the power to control, others we don’t.

The scenes of devastation from Australia in the last few months are heart breaking. Huge chunks of the country have been destroyed due to raging bush fires, thousands of people have been displaced, and millions of animals have perished.

Some are seeing the situation in Australia as a natural disaster, but it is very much man-made.

READ MORE: Climate emergency 'threatens Helensburgh's coastline', says new report

These fires are a direct result of our collective inability to robustly tackle the climate emergency, and they are a stark warning to governments around the world about what lies ahead if action to reverse the crisis isn’t taken immediately.

And Australia isn’t an isolated case. We are experiencing bad weather, rising sea levels and melting ice caps much closer to home. Just this week we have been battered by storms, one after the other. Streets have been closed, bridges shut and flooding has been extensive. And this will only get worse.

But perhaps all is not yet lost. Young activists such as Greta Thunberg have shown the kind of leadership, action and thinking that we could only hope for in our world leaders.

Young people around the world understand the scale of the crisis that we are facing. They understand that it will be their generation, and those to come, that will be suffering the consequences of climate change long after we are gone.

READ MORE: Hermitage Academy pupils join national climate change strike

Young people in Helensburgh and Lomond are no exception. I have received piles of letters from school pupils, Brownie groups and local climate activists, urging me to be their voice in parliament.

They have raising the need for us to recycle better, to use fewer single-use plastics and to walk, cycle or take public transport wherever possible.

They have marched alongside their peers from across Scotland and the scale of their protests have made both parliaments sit up and pay attention.

They are an inspiration to us all, and we need to act now, before it’s too late, to secure their future.

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news from across Helensburgh and Lomond