We are in Code Red for Humanity. The very cultural and economic systems we have created to live by are threatening to wipe us out. Traditional politics continues its pursuit of rampant neo-liberal economics and consumerism, failing to engage with the urgent transition we need.

The Greens understand how deep, how radical and how urgent the changes we need to make are. We need system change, not climate change.

The cost-of-living crisis, driven by the profiteering of big oil corporations and heightened by geopolitical insecurity, cannot be solved without addressing our economy’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Greens first called on the Executive to ban fracking and fossil fuel extraction over a decade ago. Despite our repeated calls, the traditional parties failed to act. This persistent failure on many environmental issues has left us with a shameful record.

Northern Ireland has achieved the lowest emissions reductions in the UK. Our per-capita emissions are the highest of any part of these islands. Every year, over seven million tonnes of raw sewage is dumped into our waterways. Every single one of our rivers, lakes and coastal waters has failed to meet basic quality standards. Northern Ireland’s dirty air kills 800 people a year. Yet the traditional parties fail to act.

Whilst the parties of government fail to govern, Greens have been driving the legislative agenda at Stormont. We have secured the passage of the Climate Change Bill, the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Bill, and the Domestic Abuse (Safe Leave) Bill.

As people struggle to heat or eat, Stormont has failed to protect those most impacted. Hundreds of millions of pounds of emergency funding have been left unspent by the traditional parties, who have prioritised manufacturing crises over addressing the crises we already face.

We are in the midst of a housing crisis, a cost-of-living crisis, a waiting list crisis, a mental health crisis. And of course, the impact of the climate crisis is only becoming more obvious. These are the issues that need our attention, and these are the issues the Green Party NI is committed to delivering on.

In this election campaign, traditional parties have tried to shape the debate along the usual lines of division and mistrust. But as they try to drag debate into the past, the electorate are moving forward.

It’s time to move beyond the traditional politics of division.

It's time to tackle the waiting list crisis, the cost-of-living crisis, the housing crisis and the climate crisis.

It’s time Stormont delivered for Northern Ireland.

Clare Bailey

Leader, Green Party Northern Ireland