Thursday 18 March | Duncan Sutherland

For his #100DaysOfGreenNevis project, tour manager Duncan Sutherland is writing 100 letters to elected representatives or organisations to highlight ways we can limit the climate emergency. 

For my 100 Days of Green Nevis challenge I’ve chosen to write 100 letters to elected representatives or organisations to highlight ways we can limit the climate emergency.  I used to work on research around Tidal Turbines so this is something I’ve long been passionate about and I still try to stay informed though I’m now but a humble tour manager!

Nevis members have picked a huge range of inspiring choices for their Green Challenges and as ever I’m in awe of the will power and selflessness of these musicians that I get to work with.  Lots have people have chosen to make changes to their own lifestyle and these are really important personal choices: drive less, fly less, use animal free products and reducing our individual waste are all important parts of the changes we need to make, and a lot of people making those small decisions adds up to a big big difference!

However, the choices of individuals can only take us so far.  There are huge structures in our society globally that have evolved based on the consumption of resources to generate wealth, and the timescales for consumers to change those structures is not one which would limit emissions to a level that avoids catastrophic damage and suffering.  Huge change needs governments and big organisations to act according to the emergency we’re in, as they’ve demonstrated they’re capable of with Covid.  It needs radical investment and it needs an attitude of trying new things, and to do that they need to feel the public are demanding it of them. 

So I’m writing to representatives to let them know these issues are important to me. I’ve written to representatives of both Westminster and Holyrood about issues including: re-wilding, the new coal mine proposed in Cumbria, Frequent Flyer Tax, and laws around single use plastics and bio-degradable waste.

I want to encourage others to write to their officials too – because it only take one MP’s staffer to say “I’ve been getting a lot of emails about Climate Change recently” to shift the Overton window of that office and ultimately maybe that MPs policy position.  We’re in a run up to an election in Scotland so it’s vital that MSPs feel this is a vote wining issue. (You can of course also vote for parties with strong green policies!)  If you are writing to MPs – try to be positive rather than angry. We’re all frustrated, but suggesting solution in a positive phrasing allows them to think in terms of the positive spin they can put on any policy they back publicly.

If you want to write to a representative in the UK you can use the site: https://www.writetothem.com/ to help you find who to email.

Alternatively, if you don’t know quite what to say you can sign up to mailing list of organisations that lobby government on these policy areas like Friends of the Earth, who will often circulate the option to sign and send template letters to your MPs, or to sign petitions on relevant issues.

This challenge can be quite a thought intensive undertaking and I won’t lie that I’m behind on my letter count… but I want to remind myself, and the humble reader, that lots of small voices can make a big roar so we all need to continue chipping in with whatever energy we have in whatever way we feel capable!  

Be kind to yourselves and stay safe!

From 1 February 2021, Nevis is running #100DaysOfGreenNevis, where our musicians, staff and trustees will each take on a task for 100 days linked to Sustainability. We’d love you to join us, either by following the campaign online to get ideas of what you can do, or to show us you own actions for us to share. If you would like to know more, do get in touch at georgina@nevisensemble.org 

Nevis Ensemble’s #GreenNevis campaign in 2019 won the Environmental Sustainability award at the 2020 Scottish Awards for New Music, and was shortlisted for Best Campaign by Julie’s Bicycle.