Ella is an ICS graduate, former Restless Development volunteer and climate activist living in rural Suffolk. She was in London last Wednesday for THE TIME IS NOW mass climate lobby: here’s why.
This planet is our home. We have this amazing ecosystem that supports millions of species, and as just one species, we’re destroying the entire planet. I think it’s important for us to get involved as much as we can, because change can often come about more quickly if lots of individuals come together.
On Wednesday the 26th June, I travelled to London and joined Restless Development and 16,000 others to participate in THE TIME IS NOW mass climate lobby. The mass event was organised by The Climate Coalition and Greener UK to tell UK politicians that the time is now to end our contribution to climate change and restore our natural environment.
This desire for change began during my ICS placement in Uganda, where I witnessed the unfair effects that climate change is having on communities in Uganda. Erratic and unseasonal rainfall as well as a prolonged dry season are making it harder for crops to grow, making food more scarce and millions of dollars of losses in export revenue. With 80% of Ugandans dependent on rain-fed agriculture, which itself comprises over 60% of export earnings, the country is highly vulnerable to climate change. (Source: Climate and Development Knowledge Network).
As volunteers with Restless Development, we did what we could to campaign in the community for better protections for the natural environment. We organised community clean ups, with the help of local stakeholders, to encourage more community members to look after their community and live more sustainably.
But it became clear to me, after thoroughly researching climate action and watching Greta Thunberg tirelessly campaign for change, that this crisis isn’t going to go away without a system change. That’s why, on Wednesday, I found myself in central London, with a sign reading ”THE CLIMATE IS CHANGING, WHY AREN’T OUR POLITICIANS?”, lobbying my MP to take action!
It is unfair that young people and those from less developed countries like Uganda– who have done much less to cause our climate and ecological crises – are already being hit, and hit the hardest. The UK is a major economy and historically one of the biggest contributors to climate change and as such we need to be lending our support to countries who are struggling to meet their international targets, due to a lack of funding or resources.
On the morning of the mass climate lobby, we spent time with Georgia and Gennie (Restless development’s action at home and communications coordinators). We completed our social media and MP lobbying training and then made our signs ready for the big event.
At 12:45, we set off in search of parliament and my fellow constituents at Suffolk Coastal. I was amazed by the number of individuals who had turned up to lobby their MPs. The crowds were alive, school kids were chanting ‘Climate Change is not a lie, do not let our planet die’, and I was pleasantly surprised with the diversity of the crowds, young and old, and from all walks of life.
At 2:00 everyone’s phone alarms rung throughout Westminster signifying the current crisis we are in. The aim was to get the attention of MPs and demand them to set the foundations for a better, greener and safer world for humans, animals and nature alike.
I spoke to representatives of Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal and demanded action to be taken. Our demands were simple; we wanted immediate legislation to slash emissions and reach net zero by 2045, to pass a flagship Environment Act, scale up investment to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and put environmental and climate action at the heart of the UK’s international agenda.
As the event died down, I was still buzzing with excitement. I felt really privileged to be able to take part in such a meaningful and significant event. I am aware though that not everyone is able to share their opinions so freely which is why I think that when you have that opportunity, it really is your duty to act. You should be a part of making those changes for everyone, including those who don’t have the same platforms or privileges as yourself.
Liked Ella’s blog? You can follow her over on her own blog called ellas_eco_lifestyle where she shares her ongoing experience in search of a low-cost, zero-waste and sustainable way of life.