What happened at the Climate Lobby (a guest blog from Philly, 38 Degrees member)

Philly is one hundreds of 38 Degrees members who went to the climate lobby on Wednesday 17th June – here’s her report!

Yesterday I was touched by how much love the British public have to show for Planet Earth, and how far some people will travel to show it! The ForTheLoveOf climate lobby organised by The Climate Coalition saw around 9000 people flock to Westminster to lobby over 250 local MPs and share their concerns about climate change and all its complexities. There were a heart warming array of different people; children vegan activists with homemade animal rights stickers, Surfers Against Sewage arrived in their wetsuits with surfboards, and octogenarians told descriptive stories of the grime of industry ‘back in the day’.

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I attended to help represent Fossil Free Southwark, a local campaign group that I am a member of, to spread the word about our mission to encourage our local council pension fund to divest their £17million currently in fossil fuels, and invest it in more sustainable avenues (you can join the campaign here). Along with another member and her two children ages 7 and 10 years, we set to work.

My local MP, Harriet Harman had told us she wouldn’t be coming, so I joined the Dulwich and West Norwood group instead whose Labour MP Helen Hayes appeared. Unfortunately Fossil Free Southwark couldn’t get a word in edgeways, but I am told some incredibly articulate, knowledgeable and passionate people engaged her in some interested and effective conversations.

As the afternoon progressed, we made our way slowly across Lambeth Bridge, stopping to talk to various people about the day and about our campaign. We met a coach load from Wolverhampton, some high schoolers from Cambridge, and an excellent and insightful chap named Roger who was recording his day with a video camera on his trilby, powered by a solar panel on top of the hat! I asked Roger if he’d like to know about the divest movement. He told me he worked fixing pipelines for oil, gas and water; stopping them from corroding. Which I suppose is better than letting them leak all over the place! But Roger hates fossil fuels and said that he was convinced that the divest movement (made famous in the UK by The Guardian newspaper) is the only way forward; hit them where it hurts! And what we need now, he said, is more scientists and engineers; the scientists make the discoveries, and the engineers put those into mainstream infrastructure.

The rally next to Parliament Green soon began and various people came out to speak, sing, rap and generally wax lyrical about our earth. Some were very informative, others just a representative of another demographic of people and livelihood affected by the effects of climate change, and laws on climate change.

Walking along Millbank and Lambeth Embankment, I eaves-dropped on various MPs chatting to their constituents. It was a mixed bag. Some MPs listened quietly, some listened and responded and were clearly engaged themselves, and some just recited spiel to try and keep the dogs of war at bay. But overall, to have 250 game changers take the time and come to meet their charges, regardless of their personal view on climate change, was fantastic. The sight itself of the masses rallying together to incite effort and instil hope for the planet’s future, ought to go some way to pushing climate action to the top of these peoples’ to-do lists. It seems climate change action is making it way out of its ghetto and across town, and hopefully into the mainstream, taking MPs in their rickshaws (zero emission transport specially provided by ForTheLoveOf) with it!