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BLOG: Elizabeth Dirth from Scotland's Youth Climate Group on 'business as unusual'

Elizabeth Dirth, Vice Chair of the 2050 Group- Scotland's Youth Climate Group- is a member of the Low Carbon Infrastructure Task Force. In her new blog she outlines why infrastructure decisions taken now will have the greatest impact on her generation, and those who come after her.

Climate Change will fundamentally alter the world we live in.  Either, we will see huge transformational changes in order to reduce emissions quickly enough and transition to a low carbon society; or, we will have to take massive measures in a reactionary way in order to adapt to our changing climate and changing home.  There are certainly scenarios in between these two extremes, but there is no such thing as business as usual.

The 2050 Climate Group is working to mainstream action on climate change across every sector by engaging, educating and empowering future leaders in Scotland to lead the transformation to a low carbon Scotland.  We are working to create an environment where change is welcomed by the next generation of leaders and low carbon is the new normal.

Fundamental to all of this is infrastructure – which is why the 2050 Climate Group has gotten involved with the Low Carbon Infrastructure Taskforce.

Infrastructure is a double-edged sword in the low carbon movement.  It will either lock us into a high carbon scenario or through it we can innovate for the best possible future, or it will be the fundamental tool that enables us to adapt to a changing climate.  No matter which scenario, infrastructure is core to our development and future.

At this particular moment we have an incredible opportunity.  An opportunity for the infrastructure we design, build and create at present to not only improve the way we move, travel, communicate, produce, etc. as all infrastructure aims to do, but it also has the opportunity to move us beyond a high carbon world.  In addition to this, infrastructure can also facilitate social and economic benefits by connecting people and places, encouraging movement, breaking down cultural barriers, and generally improving quality of life.

Why does any of this matter?  People.  At the end of the day, action on climate change and low carbon initiatives, improved movement and communication, and really any of the benefits that low carbon infrastructure create, it is all about people.  People have the most to lose from changes in our climate and ecosystems.  People have the most to lose from not transitioning to a low carbon world.

As Vice Chair of the 2050 Climate Group, I bring a different perspective to the taskforce.  Future infrastructure will have the greatest impact on my generation and those after me.  My generation will be the ones using it for decades to come, we will be paying for it through our future taxes, we will be responsible for normalising use of it in our behaviours, we will have to fix it and upgrade it, and most importantly, we are content to do all of these things as long as the right decisions are taken now to develop low carbon infrastructure that doesn’t lock us into a high carbon future.

The 2050 Climate Group embraces business as ‘unusual’ and looks forward to a future where many of the projects proposed and discussed in this process become our reality.

 Find out more about Elizabeth's work with the 2050 group

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