For those of you sickened and disheartened by recent political antics, here’s a refreshing change.
Yesterday there was a debate in the Scottish Parliament, introduced by Graeme Dey MSP. The motion of the debate was as follows:
That the Parliament welcomes the relaunch of the Species Champions initiative; understands that Scottish Environment LINK is asking MSPs to become species champions so that they can contribute to the conservation of “their” species in Parliament and help support action in the wider community; welcomes the at least 50 members from across all five parties in the Parliament who have already signed up to the initiative, and understands that, in order to help protect biodiversity in Angus South and across Scotland, Scottish Environment LINK hopes that those members who are yet to get involved will be able to do so.
If you’ve got a spare hour, the video footage of proceedings will certainly lift your spirits – watch it here.
It was a series of cross-party MSPs who have signed up to be ‘Species Champions‘, all standing up and giving 3 minute speeches about their ‘adopted’ species – their importance to Scotland’s biodiversity, what significant threats they face and what action has been taken to protect them. No selfish, greedy, twisted, vested interests on display here – just pure delight in celebrating some amazing plants and animals.
Several MSPs used their time to highlight the threat of persecution on driven grouse moors, including Mark Ruskell MSP (white-tailed eagle species champion, see video at 39.30 mins) and Mairi Evans MSP (hen harrier species champion, see video at 42.56 mins). Also of note was Alison Johnstone MSP, who is species champion for the brown hare but she also referenced the large scale and routine culling of mountain hares on driven grouse moors. She urged Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham to consider using her powers to introduce a Nature Conservation Order to prohibit these culls within the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park. That’s an intriguing and creative suggestion and one we’ll come back to. You can watch Alison’s speech at 21.18 mins in.
The Species Champions initiative was launched in 2013 by Scottish Environment LINK. Yesterday’s debate was to highlight its re-launch under the new Parliament and to encourage more MSPs to get involved. Well done Graeme Dey MSP for introducing the debate and really well done to all those who took part with such enthusiasm. It has restored some of our faith that some politicians, at least, ‘get’ the importance of the environment and are prepared to stand up for it.