On Monday November 08, SANE was pleased to represent Glasgow Against Closures and join campaigners from Climate Action Leeds, Our Future Leeds, London Doughnut Coalition and Our Future Edinburgh to present a workshop on Future Cities: Zero Carbon, Nature Friendly, Socially Just by the 2030s as part of the COP26 Coalition’s People’s Summit.
We became involved with the Glasgow Against Closures campaign earlier this year, and have watched as the campaign has drawn attention to the importance of local community facilities, and in the process has been connecting people with their local campaigns, engaging with trade unions and community councils and is currently in the process of looking at organising a people’s assembly. It’s been a successful model of the processes and practises we’re trying to promote across the city with the People’s Plan for Glasgow, and we have been pleased to support them and watch them grow.
SANE’s call is for Glasgow City Council to completely revisit its approach to the local economy with an alternative regional development strategy which would seek to replace this big business-led, extractive model with a public-sector led investment plan, aimed at maintaining the wealth generated through development in Glasgow by anchoring it in the community.
And it’s critical that issues of Fair Trade and climate justice must be at the heart of future conversations about the city’s economy – not sidelined or as has been the case thus far – ignored completely. Cycle lanes, dotting about a few trees, and the pedestrianisation of George Square does not equal climate justice. And as long as this city continues to be solely focussed on economic growth, there is no room for lasting, sustainable solutions to the myriad of challenges that face the people who live here.
Glasgow’s Coat of Arms invokes a picture of a city in which a diversity of life is abundant. Our motto ‘Let Glasgow Flourish’ suggests it’s just that easy. We know it’s not. We know that the forces preventing Glasgow from flourishing are symptomatic of a system far wider than our city. At the same time, we have seen examples of how Fearless cities throughout the world have led the way in shrugging off those systems in favour of those that benefit the people that live there.
Glasgow is already deemed one of the world’s friendliest cities, and we have the potential to be just as Fearless. We have the power to become a city that makes amends for its colonial past, a city that acts as an exemplar of social and ecological justice, a city that refuses to be a playground for arms companies any longer, a city free from poverty, a city that maintains and protects it’s community facilities, a city whose policies make a difference to its health and other inequalities, a city in which no-one is left behind, a city that can truly, and meaningfully, flourish.