On Yer Bike makes moves to keep sustainable transport spinning.

There was reportedly over 350 people taking part in Wednesday’s rally outside St. Andrews’ House, and sporting a funky Changeworks cycling jacket, I was getting in on the action along with a whole host of other environmental groups, cyclists and a plethora of people concerned with cuts to sustainable transport.

During the event Transport and Housing Minister, Keith Brown, received a letter from Stop Climate Chaos Scotland backing the “social, environmental and economic benefits” that emissions reduction targets would bring. He gave a speech. Some people grumbled, but the overwhelming mood was one of optimism.

Earlier that day, a few of us had set off from the office, gathering more members as we ascended to the top of one of Edinburgh’s many hills, where the feeling of excitement was palpable. Cyclists ruling the roads! After it was over, in an entourage of some fifty bikes, I cycled my way past kowtowing buses and courteous car drivers while deep in conversation with a green consultant whom I had just met at a set of traffic lights.

As we wheeled along a pedestrianised Princes Street, it was hard not imagine we were living in some futuristic version of Scotland, where people greeted one another when the traffic paused, with smiles rather than scowls. If only for a brief moment, it was easy to entertain the fantasy that Edinburgh could someday follow cities like Amsterdam, where in the transport triangle it is the car that comes bottom of the heap.

SPOKES, a local cycling campaign group, were in attendance along with Transition Town Linlithgow. Representatives from major environmental organisations such as Friends of The Earth, the World Wildlife Fund and even local businesses such as Tollcross’ Soul Cycles came along, having closed the shop for lunch. You can see what they had to say over at STV Local.

Oisín Murphy-Lawless and baby Orla were among a diverse group of all ages (and cycling skills) who joined the crowd that had gathered to help keep the Scottish Government’s Climate Change targets on track.

The Stop Climate Chaos organisers explained that despite the success of the rally, the campaign is ongoing:

“Thanks to your help, our recent e-actions have helped influence key MSPs in the Scottish Parliament to call for proper funding for action on climate change, but we still have to convince Ministers to amend their budget plans accordingly. The Budget Bill will be laid before Parliament next week and will be finalised and voted on before mid-February. So there is still an opportunity to influence what is and what isn't funded.”

This really could have been a glimpse of the future, and it’s a future I’d be happy to live in.

You can follow what people were saying throughout the event on Twitter, and if you want to keep up with green issues be sure to find Changeworks there and on Facebook.

Do you think Scotland will make it’s 42% Emissions Reduction Target by 2020? Let us know.

 - Al