HELENSBURGH residents joined more than 20 Argyll and Bute constituents in calling for the area's MP to back a 'green recovery' from Covid-19.

Members of the Plastic Free Helensburgh (PFH) group, which was set up last year to encourage environmentally friendly projects in the town, took part in a virtual lobby with Brendan O'Hara last Wednesday morning as part of the Climate Coalition's 'The Time Is Now' campaign.

The campaign called on people across the UK to come together for an online meeting with their Westminster representative to ask them to put people, climate and nature at the heart of the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.

A campaign note states: "The UK is at a turning point. As we build back from the current health crisis, we have the opportunity to rebuild a resilient economy that benefits everyone in society and tackle climate change and nature’s decline, creating jobs and protecting the most vulnerable in the UK and around the world.

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"Or we can let the moment for change pass us by, go back to old ways and wait for new crises to hit.

"Using our voices to call for action is more important than ever. Have a virtual cup of tea with your MP and tell them that #TheTimeIsNow to put a healthy, greener, fairer future at the heart of plans to rebuild from the coronavirus crisis."

Fiona McLeod, one of the founders of PFH who joined last week's virtual lobby, said she is hopeful that the pandemic and lockdown will have allowed people time to reflect on their priorities and focus on the climate emergency.

Fiona told the Advertiser: "I personally feel, and I know I am not alone, that the current UK Government is paying mere lip service to the climate crisis and that they need to be made to understand the gravity of it and the urgent need to take major, concrete actions now.

"I also believe from what I have seen of the current Scottish Government that they understand the impact of the climate emergency on our future and are willing to take action. However, inaction and lack of support from the UK Government will hamper their ability to take action.

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"It is a politician's job to listen to their constituents and make decisions that will be of benefit for them.

"We as individuals can contribute with our lifestyle choices, but we can only have a small effect if politicians and businesses do not facilitate this. We want and we need their help.

"We need as many people as possible to speak up and make them listen, which is why I joined the virtual lobby - the more of us who speak, the more they will have to listen."

The aims of those involved with the Time Is Now campaign in Scotland include unleashing investment in jobs-rich climate and nature-friendly infrastructure, making transport greener by increasing investment in cycling, walking infrastructure and public transport and bringing forward the phaseout of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2030.

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Mr O’Hara said he was pleased so many constituents have backed the campaign for a green recovery and calls for a fairer and more just society.

He said: “The pandemic has been challenging for everyone and it is important we learn from this and take the opportunity to address how we move forward, creating a society which tackles inequalities and poverty, is greener, healthier and more sustainable.

"Renewable energy is key to rebuilding our economy and the Scottish Government has the most ambitious targets of all four UK nations to ensure we are carbon neutral by 2050.

"The move towards this bring so many benefits including the creation of thousands of new jobs. Campaigns such as the Time is Now are crucial to pressing the UK Government that it must commit to doing more.”

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