Have you met your MP? Do you know what their views are, and whether they represent your own? You can find our who your MP is by entering your postcode into the website www.theyworkforyou.com, where you will also learn what their interests are and how they have voted on different issues.
This summer, the WI and the Climate Coalition are asking us to get in touch with our MPs and start a conversation about climate change. Specifically, we need to ask them to press the Government to beef up the Climate Change Act so that we can meet a new target of zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. And if six Cornwall MPs stood together and told the Government, ‘This is what people in Cornwall care about’, that has got to make a difference.
The Speak Up! week of action is scheduled to take place between 30 June and 8 July this year, but your action doesn’t have to be then. On 4th May, WIs from across the St Ives constituency invited their MP Derek Thomas to a conversation about climate change, which was held in St Buryan Village Hall. Members from St Buryan, Carbis Bay, Crowlas & Ludgvan, Sheffield & District, Praze-an-Beeble and Zennor WIs, as well as three representatives from the RSPB, came to hear Derek Thomas answer our questions about renewable energy and the Government’s commitment to tackling climate change.
The evening began with a talk by Sarah Robinson, who works for an organisation called Hope for Future. Their remit is to support people to engage with their elected representatives on the subject of climate change. She had lots of sensible advice about finding common ground – for example many MPs who do not accept the scientific case for the reality of climate change will take action on fuel poverty, and increasing the energy efficiency of our homes. She also said that Parliament is less adversarial than the media represent it, and much of the work of MPs is
done in cross-party committees.
Derek Thomas then gave a short talk about topics such as the future of the wave hub, geothermal energy in Cornwall, reducing emissions from our homes, and what steps are being taken to protect our coastal towns from flooding. He undertook to press the Government to introduce energy efficiency standards into building regulations, and also to send us copies of the briefings he had been sent answering our questions.
After an informative question and answer session, Sarah Robinson flagged up the Climate Coalition week of action, and the goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050. Pippa Stilwell stressed the urgency of this campaign, and the need to keep temperature rises to 1.50 or below. She asked everyone present to encourage their friends in other constituencies to contact their own MPs.
The meeting ended in true WI fashion with tea, cake and conversation – altogether a very enjoyable and informative evening.
You can download the Climate Coalition Events Guide here: it’s full of helpful tips for meeting your MP. And don’t forget – your pressure will make a difference!
– Pippa Stilwell, CFWI Climate Ambassador