‘The Time is Now’ – Mass-lobby of Parliament for climate emergency action!

‘The Time is Now’ – Mass-lobby of Parliament for climate emergency action!

Home » ‘The Time is Now’ – Mass-lobby of Parliament for climate emergency action!

On Wednesday 26th June the Climate Coalition organised the ‘Time is Now’ mass lobby where thousands of people from all across the country got the chance to meet their MP to urge them to fight for our climate, nature and people.  

Paul Allen spoke at the event and reports back on the experience.

I was invited to share CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research at the ‘Time is Now’ mass lobby event in London. CAT is a long-standing member of the Climate Coalition, so I was keen to help support this innovative mass action to demand that MPs take action over the climate emergency and critical loss of nature.

The event was a clear success. Mass actions really do make a difference and this mass lobby was a groundbreaking shift in how we interact with our MPs – I spoke to one of the security staff who said ‘they had never seen an event like it in all their career’.

Showing MPS that climate change affects us all

The event was thoroughly good-natured. Around 12,000 active citizens – from faith groups to the Women’s Institute to schoolchildren – arranged to meet and lobby their MPs for urgent action on the climate emergency. The organisers recognise that, “If MPs meet a whole range of people it will show them that climate change and the environment are mainstream issues that affect all of us — young and old, all races and religions, across the political spectrum.”

The outdoor lobby line ran down the riverbank from the Houses of Parliament, over Lambeth Bridge and back along the other side of the river. It was composed of signposts around which people would gather in their regions and constituencies, so it was easy for me to find the local groups CAT has been working with, and offer them Zero Carbon Britain information to share with their MP.

I travelled down by train with a sizeable group from the Mid Wales area ready to lobby our local MP. But, perhaps due to the heat, an unexpected number of MPs decided to meet their constituents inside the House of Commons, which resulted in record queues – it took me well over an hour and a quarter to get through security!

Around 195 MPs met with constituents

The ‘Time is Now’ lobby comes after months of growing environmental awareness and citizen actions, which have worked to increase awareness of the urgency of the issue with our elected representatives.

An estimated 195 MPs were encouraged to mark their constituency with a pin on a large map of the UK before meeting with their constituents. Those MPs who ventured out were taken by bicycle-rickshaw to their constituency area. At 2pm everyone present rang alarm clocks, mobile phone alarms and sirens, and, of course, whistled and cheered loudly to let Parliament know that “the time is now”!

To round off the day, I was also invited to join the ‘Finale Reception’ in Parliament’s Churchill Room, immediately following the lobby. This brought together MPs such as Caroline Lucas and Sue Hayman with defence and health experts, youth strikers and more, to share reflections and hear responses from those in the room. Sadly, Michael Gove, did not make it as planned.

Many of the active citizens I spoke to were uplifted by the net zero legislation, but as record heat-waves spread across Europe with temperatures high enough to endanger life on a serious scale, many were deeply concerned about the lack of short-term policies to ensure that the UK raises the bar and sets a plan to reach net zero emissions well before 2050.

Congratulations to the Climate Coalition and Greener UK for pioneering another unique and innovative form of mass action!

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