On Wednesday 26 June, I attended a mass lobby at Westminster to tell my MP that we
must act now to stop our contribution to the climate and ecological crisis and that we want
to breathe cleaner air in Merton.
An event on a big scale
More than 10000 people from all walks of life and all over the UK attended the event to secure a safer and cleaner future for everyone. The event was organised by the Climate Coalition, an umbrella of 130 organisations representing 15 million people.
At least 195 Members of Parliament met their constituents, including the MP for Mitcham and Morden, Siobhain McDonagh and the MP for Wimbledon, Stephen Hammond.
The atmosphere was very family friendly and carnival like. Constituents organised themselves in small groups and in alphabetic order, so it was easy for me to find my fellow constituents.
I saw about 50 people from Merton including many school children and teachers from various schools in the borough. People were representing various local groups, including faith groups, churches, The Women’s Institute, Friends of local parks, RSPB, and Friends of the Earth.
Lobbying for a stronger Environment Bill
The government is proposing a new Environment Bill to cover air quality, nature conservation and waste management (including plastic pollution), set to be introduced to parliament later this year. It was important therefore for MPs to see that their constituents care about their local environment and want green spaces, biodiversity and air quality to be strongly protected for future generations.
Many issues were raised by Merton residents, including opposition to the extension of Heathrow airport, a net zero carbon target by 2045 rather than 2050, traffic related pollution near local schools, and plastic pollution in local rivers.
The government’s (currently draft) Environment Bill needs to be strengthened when it is introduced to Parliament, which after all has declared a climate emergency. So MPs have a very important role to play here.
Missed the lobby? How can you get in touch with your MP?
Your MP will be asked to vote on amendments of the Environment Bill in the months to come and you can have your say about the changes you would like to see. Here are a few tips:
Check who your MP is at TheyWorkForYou.com
Write a letter or send an email
Write about your personal experiences in your area. Explain the changes you want to see happen and ask for clear commitments from your MP
Don’t forget to include your name and address so that they can see that you live in their constituency (otherwise they may ignore you)
Follow up on your message to hold your MP accountable
The public awareness about plastic pollution, air pollution and the climate and nature emergencies is increasing very rapidly. The fact that thousands of individuals from all walks of life bothered to take an entire day off to meet their MP is showing that people want the government to take stronger actions, faster. It was a wake up call for our MPs.