From Sussex to Scotland, every corner of the UK was represented on June 17, as environmental activists of all ages gathered in the hopes of creating dialogue with their local MPs about climate change issues.
The Speak Up For the Love Of…climate rally proposes that MPs “Make it clean! Make it fair! Make it work!” This means getting energy from clean sources, supporting developing countries hardest hit by climate change, and making these decisions effective.
With a festival-like feel, everyone at the rally was in high spirits, bunting was abound, and Ben and Jerry’s gave out free ice cream cones to overheated participants. There was no shortage of creativity; costumes ranged from a heart-shaped world to a polar bear; people were salsa dancing, and others were painting on large canvasses.
Nearly 300 MPs were lobbied yesterday. They talked inside Westminster, addressed crowds on the street, and even took walks and rickshaw rides with their constituents in an unprecedented event where over 9,000 people had their voices heard.
The UK’s Climate Change Act, which was passed in 2008, commits the UK to reducing emissions by at least 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels. People gathered to press politicians to go further and show international leadership ahead of global climate change talks in Paris this December…Nuns, surfers, schoolgirls, and beekeepers alike gathered in solidarity around the Thames to lobby For the Love Of bikes, trees, music, family, and many more of life’s necessities.
The lobby occurred one day before Pope Francis’ historic encyclical, an 180-page intervention in climate change debate, which calls on the world’s wealthier states to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor by taking substantial, legitimate steps for climate change mitigation. The Pope asserts that failure to do so presents an undeniable risk to our “common home.”
The large success of Wednesday’s climate rally, in conjunction with Pope Francis’ Encyclical will hopefully act as a catalyst for action by Parliament as both the common people and those of higher authority call for climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts on the part of the UK government and others.