Louisa Davison writes about the first UK conference, 16 March 2019, Swindon.
Many people concerned – angry – about climate change ask themselves: “Is there any point talking to my MP? Will the Government do anything about this catastrophic problem facing our species and our world? Won’t they just do whatever they want to do and ignore me and others like me? They’ll never change their minds. People will never give up oil.”
The truth is that governments change their minds all the time. Parliament is made up with people who specialise in listening and doing what their electorate wants, even if it’s not the wisest course of action. They are voted in by UK citizens to be our representatives. If we don’t tell them what we think and what we want, then others will steer the news, the debate and the policies which create our laws.
Yes, parliament is made of people, people with a very difficult job trying to do the right thing (what is the right thing?) and stay in power long enough to make a difference or at least make a difference while they have the power.
And often they are faced with an electorate who don’t have all the facts, and are angry at all the times they have seemingly failed, failing to recognise their successes, or have an ideology which seems an impossible dream.
And what about our addiction to oil? We gave up CFCs and fixed the ozone layer. We gave up slavery. We gave women the vote. We said homosexuality should not be prosecuted. We made health care free for everyone. We made peace with other European countries and in Northern Ireland. At one time, all these things seemed impossible.
is not everything impossible until it is done?
So said Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder, Victorian author Sir Daniel Wilson and Nelson Mandela.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby tries a different way.
We are optimistic
We are not giving up on this world or finding a plan B. We can sort out this mess. And we believe we have the solution to do enough of a job to clear it up. We know this because great economic and political minds have worked on the solution, and these minds care as much about climate change as anyone reading this.
We believe in democracy
It may not be perfect, but it gives everyone a voice – and not just on polling day. Any citizen can expect to talk with and meet with their MP. They have an obligation to respond to their electorate. They are public servants doing a job and we – UK citizens – are the ones giving them their job description.
We are respectful, grateful – and firm
MPs and the people who support them are people. People respond best to respect, gratitude and recognition that they are doing a hard job. We will win them over to our side and influence them more if we remember this. We transmute our anger into action and we stay calm. We find common ground and work together, regardless of political ideology.
But we remember why we are there. We are there to fix climate change. We are not pacified, put off or buried in rhetoric.
I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.
- Mahatma Gandi, 1920, from Young India
So, on 16th March, meet us, join us and find out how to work with democracy and turn the tide on climate change.