Humanist Society interview series: Becky Kenton-Lake on Stop Climate Chaos Scotland’s new climate manifesto

October 24, 2023

Humanist Society Scotland is a proud member of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) coalition. SCCS brings together over 60 organisations working towards a net-zero planet and international climate justice. We spoke to the organisation’s coalition manager, Becky Kenton-Lake, to find out more about SCCS’s new Climate Manifesto.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about SCCS?

I’m Becky Kenton-Lake. I’ve worked at Stop Climate Chaos for four years and I coordinate the coalition’s advocacy and campaigning activities. Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is a diverse coalition of over 60 organisations (including Humanist Society Scotland) campaigning for accelerated, fair action to reduce Scotland’s contribution to the climate crisis. We also champion international climate justice and support for the countries who did least to cause the crisis but are suffering the worst impacts. 

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, recently called on the world’s nations to ‘massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe.’ The Climate Manifesto is our attempt to show how to do that.

Becky Kenton-Lake, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

What is in the new climate manifesto and why is it relevant to our readers?

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, recently called on the world’s nations to “massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe.” The Climate Manifesto is our attempt to show how to do that. It contains over 100 policies across 13 chapters, to show what all levels of government should do to address the climate emergency. We show how that can be done fairly and with the urgency required. We don’t have all of the answers, and things will undoubtedly change and evolve. But this is our attempt to be proactive and build momentum for climate action. 

Scotland has been a climate leader in the past. However, following a series of missed climate targets, it now needs to do much more to reduce emissions and transition to a low carbon, fairer, healthier nation. This would bring benefits to communities across Scotland. Ahead of Scottish Government publishing a new Climate Change Plan later this year, it is vital that we show public support for these measures. 

Scotland has been a climate leader in the past. However, following a series of missed climate targets, it now needs to do much more.

Becky Kenton-Lake, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
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IMAGE OF ARDROSSAN C. OLIVER CLARKE/CREATIVE COMMONS

What can humanist readers and allies do to get involved with SCCS and help fight climate change?

We know that people in Scotland are incredibly concerned about climate change. That it can feel like an overwhelming issue to address. By signing up to the SCCS newsletter you can get info on how to add your voice to climate campaigns organised by us or our members. You’ll also hear more about events and we’ll offer support for speaking to decision-makers. At a time when climate is being used as a political football, we are seeing backtracking on climate policies. So, it is more important than ever for legislators to hear a strong message of support for action from their constituents.

What do you see as the links between protecting the climate and protecting human rights and human beings in Scotland?

Human and environmental rights are inextricably linked. Marginalised groups and communities are the least responsible for contributing to environmental damage. But they are more exposed to environmental burdens and have less access to its benefits. Without a safe and healthy environment for everyone many rights are lost, such as access to clean water, air and food. We need to secure a safe climate and protect human rights for all communities, both in Scotland and internationally. 

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