A Borders councillor is making it his mission to save the world from global warming, and he’s taking that crusade to the top.
Bypassing the likes of Scottish Government First minister Nicola Sturgeon and UK Government Prime Minister Theresa May, Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson this week contacted US president Donald Trump to make an impassioned plea for him to act now to avert a climate change disaster.
World leaders have been told they are under a moral obligation to do more to prevent a climate crisis in the wake of a new UN report revealing that even half a degree of extra warming will affect hundreds of millions of people, decimate corals and intensify heat extremes.
Mr Paterson emailed the president’s office expressing his concerns and was told that his message will be “reviewed carefully”.
However, Mr Paterson might find it a hard act to change Mr Trump’s stance.
The 72-year-old, America’s 45th president, is known to be a global warming denier and has withdrawn the US from the 2015 Paris Agreement, a United Nations pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 2020.
Mr Paterson said: “I sent an email to him, and I have given him my mobile number and said that he can call at any time. I am waiting for his call.
“I told him that, as the leader of the free world, surely to goodness he should be listening to the non-political world experts and lead by example.
“This isn’t just about America – this is about the future of the world, and if we don’t make drastic changes now, we will increase climate change and cause real economic hardship to some of the poorest nations in the world, which are already struggling to survive.
A reply, from the office of presidential correspondence, says: “Thank you for contacting the White House.
“We are carefully reviewing your message.
“President Donald J Trump appreciates you taking the time to reach out.”
Mr Paterson says he now intends to contact other world leaders including Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping to demand action.
Closer to home, Mr Paterson is also calling on Scottish Border Council chief executive Tracey Logan to do more to cut use of plastics here.
In particular, he wants to see the back of one-use cups for coffee in council vending machines.
He said: “I am disappointed at the lack of action by councils and governments to combat the ever-increasing misuse of plastic and one-use items.
“For example, our council has one-use cups for coffee at vending machines and one-use plastic stirrers for the same machines.
“There must be hundreds of one-use items that I would consider Scottish Borders Council could consider phasing out.
“Surely It wouldn’t be a hardship to bring a mug and spoon to work?”