Kate Nevens is the Scottish Greens candidate in Edinburgh South.
We spoke to her in Marchmont on a wild and windy day towards the end of the campaign. It was so wild that we recorded audio rather than video. Kate has a background of working in the Middle East and an interesting story.
She told us : “I’m standing because I want to see radical, urgent action on the climate crisis. We’ve got really little time left to address the climate emergency and the parliament that we elect on Thursday, it’s going to be sitting hopefully, for the next five years, which is half the decade that we’ve been given to turn things around.”
The Edinburgh Reporter pointed out that there is only one Green MP at Westminster at the moment and asked what difference even antoher one or two would make. Kate was emphatic. She said : “I think we will make a massive amount of difference. We’ve been working on action plans to tackle the climate crisis for at least a decade longer than everybody else. We’re quite a lot further ahead of the other parties. However, the other parties are clambering to catch up, which is great.
“So we’re seeing other parties announce a climate emergency. We’re seeing other parties like Labour announce a green New Deal. They’re doing that after us but it’s really good that they’re doing it and it’s really good that that’s happening. So we would be working with other like-minded MPs in Westminster to push forward cross party these ideas to really tackle the climate emergency.”
We then asked her to give us a brief biography of what she has been doing before now. Kate replied : “I probably have a bit of an unusual background in that I have been working for the last 10 or 12 years in the Middle East, doing peace building work, peace, peace and conflict work working with communities in countries like Yemen, in Libya, in Egypt, and with youth groups and with women’s groups, in really, really complex contexts.
“This means I have done a variety of things, but a lot of it is about supporting local activism. So it’s local women’s groups that are trying to end violence against women in their communities, it’s local youth groups that are trying to pursue peace building, when their country’s in conflict. It’s supporting people to do advocacy where that’s possible, not just to their own governments but to the UN and to international governments. So just helping them get their message across.
“It’s a lot about working with marginalised voices.”
And then we asked about the the local issues in Edinburgh South that she had been hearing about on the doors.
She smiled and said : “I think my favourite part of the campaign has been the door knocking, I’ve really been enjoying speaking to people.
“It’s a really big constituency that is actually a really varied constituency. So you’ve got lots of different communities. I’ve particularly enjoyed going out in the Inch in Liberton and Gilmerton and talking to lots of young families and older people who really, really care about the climate, and they really care about the environment.
“And I have loved their kids wanting to talk to me about things like the litter picking they’re doing, or the climate strikes that they’ve been attending or turning off their TVs, and things like that. And it’s felt really, really valuable in terms of how that relates to local issues. We need to make sure that we maintain our access to green spaces in Edinburgh South.
“So rights of way across Midmar Paddock and making sure we’re not building on the greenbelt further down south, making sure that we can all have access to active travel, we can all walk and cycle safely if we want to.
“We’ve got some real problems in this particular area around the rat runs for schools, so making sure that it’s safe for children to walk around and get to school.”
Kate is one of the interviewees who speak to us here
Edinburgh South candidates 2019
BEAL, Alan Christopher – Scottish Liberal Democrats
COOK, Nick – Scottish Conservative and Unionist
MACDONALD, Catriona Mary Elizabeth – Scottish National Party
MURRAY, Ian – Scottish Labour Party
NEVENS, Kate – Scottish Green Party