1978 saw a
number of significant happenings. The oil tanker Amoco Cadiz was wrecked off
Brittany, Pluto's moon Charon was discovered and the Space Invaders arcade game
was launched. As well as these excitements, Friends of the Earth Scotland came
into being, separating from Friends of the Earth UK, which had existed since
Over the last
four decades staff, volunteers, local groups and activists have campaigned
doggedly and creatively on a vast range of issues starting with protecting
otters all the way to last year's massive victory in getting fracking banned.
successes have included stopping a huge 'super-quarry' on the isle of Harris,
fighting off the proposal for a coal-fired power station in Ayrshire, getting
tough targets in the 2009 Climate Act, the forthcoming Low Emission Zones in
Scottish cities and changing the law so communities have more rights to go to
the years have included air pollution, packaging, acid rain, bathing water
quality, the M77 motorway and Aberdeen Bypass, tropical timber, recycling, toxic
chemicals in our homes and renewable energy, as well as our work on the
climate-trashing policies of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
We pioneered the
concept of environmental justice in Scotland and opposed genetically-modified
crops. We also helped introduce low-speed 20mph traffic zones, shaped
Scotland's Freedom of Information legislation and trialled energy efficiency
information for house buyers – now a legal requirement.
We have also
trained up generations of activists, through formal programmes and in our local
groups. And made strong contributions to the campaigns of Friends of the Earth
International and Friends of the Earth Europe.
inquiries to public protests, we've always been creative. We blockaded the
French Consulate to protest nuclear testing, took barrels of radioactive waste
to the Australian Consulate, dumped CFC-filled fridges on the steps of the
Scottish Government, blew the top off a mountain outside the Royal Bank of
Scotland's AGM, held green-masked tea parties on roundabouts, planted skeletons
on the tour bus at Torness nuclear power station, planted trees on Terry
Wogan's lawn and highlighted polluting factories from Muir of Ord in the
highlands, to Leith docks in Edinburgh.
caller threatened to burn down the office after we highlighted people driving
solo in the Edinburgh rush hour while dressed as Eco-Wardens. One Chair of the
Board hung off a crane to protest nuclear sponsorship of youth work. We
produced the first guide to recycling facilities in Scotland and even a
successful cookbook. People in suits sang songs and drank oil. Penguins, polar
bears, inflatable chainsaws, carbon dinosaurs and giant white elephants have
all put in an appearance.
Members help make it happen
Through this all
the contribution of our members and supporters has been vital, from running the
organisation in the early days to giving us the resources and political power
to win campaigns today.
We have achieved
great things but there is still plenty to do. The new Climate Bill due in May
is a big opportunity to work together to make sure Scotland's ambition and
delivery are fit for the next 40 years. We'll soon be making a ground-breaking
intervention in a legal case in
support of Scotland's ban on fracking. We need to ensure that the Low Emission
Zones get to grips with the air pollution crisis and help speed the transition
to public transport, walking and cycling.