YESTERDAY, I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.

She was visiting Edinburgh to talk about why so many Greens south of the border support Scottish independence.

While it might seem strange to some, our colleagues are excited at the prospect of independence shaking up UK politics and the chance to encourage progressive forces across the British Isles.

Of course, it's not just our closest neighbours who are taking an interest in the referendum. Anyone who has been abroad in recent months, or spoken with visitors to Scotland, will likely have had similar conversations.

People from all round the world are curious about what's happening and in places such as Catalonia, people are watching especially closely. It should be a matter of pride for people on both sides of the debate that what observers are seeing is a peaceful, democratic and - by and large - good natured debate.

As a Green, I'd like to see this peaceful and democratic approach carried forward in the event of a Yes vote.

Independence would give Scotland a chance to take a fresh approach to global responsibilities.

Where successive UK governments have clung on to tired notions of being a global powerbroker, I'd like to see Scotland use its international experience more effectively. Smaller, yes. But with a unique and positive voice.

The chance to rid these islands of nuclear weapons is one of the biggest and most exciting opportunities a Yes vote would bring.

AND unlike the SNP, the Scottish Greens will continue to oppose membership of the Nato nuclear-alliance.

We don't just need rid of the weapons - we need to reject the macho approach to defence that Nato embodies.

In terms of our responsibilities at home, we'll have the opportunity to reshape our humiliating and brutal asylum system, which has become focused on rejecting as many people as possible rather than providing asylum for those who need it.

Scotland will take its place as a member of global bodies tackling the economic, social and environmental challenges the world faces. I am especially excited by our chance to give leadership on climate change.

All countries are going to have to overcome the obsession with extracting and burning fossil fuels.

By ending the industry's tax breaks for exploring new reserves that we can't afford to burn, Scotland could instead fund a transition to renewable energy that works in the public interest instead of only benefiting a handful of multinationals.

As Scotland's year in the global spotlight approaches its finale, the promise of being able to start anew on our relationship with the world is an enticing one.