September 2021: News from your local MP

August 31 2021

Act now to make a difference

This summer we have seen nightmarish pictures of forest fires in Greece and the West coast of America, floods washing away German homes and heard predictions of worse to come.
Recent scientific findings show there is no doubt we are causing climate breakdown. Some damage to our planet is now irreversible, at least within our lifetimes, according to the work of thousands of researchers. We can avoid the worst, but we need to increase the urgency.
This may seem unbearably bleak. And I can understand anyone who wants to think about something less depressing.
But it’s vital we do think about it and there is hope. In this column, I’m suggesting things you can do about the climate emergency. Not how to cut your own carbon footprint - important, though not my area of expertise, and lots of you are already on that. This article is about making your voice heard politically and the push for real climate action at all levels.
Get political
As an MP, I can tell you that my team and I read every email and letter we receive. If we receive a large volume of emails on a topic, it is certainly noticed (though if you are one of hundreds, you may not get a personalised response!).
It’s particularly important that the Tories – as they are currently in government – are challenged in this way. Members of Parliament can only act on behalf of constituents, so ask friends in Tory seats to write to their MP. If they receive a huge volume of letters and emails on this, they are more likely to consider strong climate policies.
Follow the money
If you have a pension or money saved, find out where it is invested. I have been pushing the Parliamentary pension provider to divest from fossil fuels, effectively making them less profitable and tipping the balance towards cleaner energy. Pension funds make decisions about billions of pounds – it’s our money, so let them know what you want them to do or not do with yours and if they won’t, consider moving your money.
Talk to people
I represent 140,000 people. A lot of them don’t have time or resources in busy lives to make it a daily priority. Some want to but don’t know how. It’s important to speak to everyone about this. Changing climate - and policies to cut emissions – will affect us all. We all need to be involved and there will be different routes for different people. Some will want to join a campaign. Some will want to do something different.
I recently organised an event to bring as many people as possible into tackling the climate emergency. During this, diverse community leaders and activists spoke about how powerful it is to hear these messages from people we know and trust. You can watch this back on my Facebook page:
Think about your sphere of influence
It’s important to remember our wider sphere of influence, beyond our households. I’ve heard some fantastic stories – from school children pushing for greener policies in their school, to employees influencing the travel policies of large corporations.
Companies, charities and all kinds of organisations make decisions which affect our carbon footprint. If you have links with other organisations, push them to take the climate emergency seriously. And let me know about good examples and do invite me along to find out more.