In the wake of the school strikes to raise awareness of climate change, MP’s met to debate the issue in the House of Commons on the 28th of February.
Not a moment too soon really; as the Paris Agreement deadline to reduce CO2 emissions draws closer, it is important that all MP’s discuss this most important of issues.
During the week when the UK experienced it’s hottest day ever recorded in winter, one would naturally assume that those in charge would be eager, anxious and concerned enough to put other issues aside and to come to a decision about Parliaments next steps. After all, temperatures of 21.2C in February, it is becoming ever more apparent that our climate is changing much faster than climate scientists predicted. Indeed, during this ‘winter heat wave’ temperatures in the Uk exceeded those of Malibu, Crete and Athens.
Except, that is not what happened. Far from it.
Yes, MP’s did show for the debate but Tory leader Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were not in attendance. The two main parties in the UK Parliamentary System were under represented at this key meeting to say the least. A handful of Tory MP’s were in attendance but during this debate, at certain junctures there were as few as 10 MP’s recorded to be taking part. This is shocking and not acceptable.
I am saddened, angered but I’m not surprised.
Reflecting on how party leaders responded to the School Strikes For Climate, with Downing Street officially calling it ‘truancy,’ it shows either a large scale denial of the issue or extreme ignorance. However, ignorance is unlikely- if school children are aware of the issues, then surely world leaders are as well. That is unless they live with their rears in the air and their heads in the sand when they are not at Parliament.
Many MP’s have stated that these school children should prioritise school attendance, so they can gain the qualifications needed to try and reverse climate change in the future. It seems they lack a basic understanding of climate science and are once again, ignoring the advice of climate scientists in favour of making money in the short term. They are comparing worried and understandably angry children with those who commit truancy, hardly a fair comparison. They are selling these kids futures short by their inaction and cannot understand why these children are angry? Isn’t it obvious? I’m 32 and I’m angry to live in a world where the eco system is treated with such disrespect; my dad taught me about respect for nature and the planet when I was very young. ‘We must look after this world for it to give back to us’ he once told me and those words have stuck with me ever since. My dad has immense respect for the planet, which he passed on to me and my siblings- at the age of 77, he is sickened by how MP’s are allowing it to be destroyed. So it seems, school kids aren’t the only age group that are upset by the inaction of those in power and yet, still nothing is being done.
It seems that MP’s are scooting around the real problems that need discussing which is not what they were elected for. Climate Change is the biggest threat facing the planet but it is being treated as an after thought, in favour of discussions about Brexit and trade. Yes, those are important subjects too but one must be able to prioritise, especially if you represent a constituency. With a growing number of British people becoming more worried about climate change, plastic pollution and with more people switching to a vegan based lifestyle for the planet, it seems strange that it is going seemingly unnoticed in the halls of power. Based on my present predicament with the local council about pollinating plants, it seems to all come back to one key point- money. I personally do not believe that the government is strapped for cash, especially as Mrs. May unveiled a £1.6 billion fund for towns that backed Brexit. Can you imagine what that money could do if funded in to other areas? I’m not an economist but I’m willing to bet that it could fund a few packets of seeds. Heck, if I can afford wildflower seeds on a self employed writers income, then I think they can fund a few eco based changes with that kind of money!
So how can we drive MP’s to talk about this issue? I’ve heard it said that leaders are not really leaders, they are followers who obey the will of the people. If that is true, it suggests that the majority of the British public either don’t care about climate change or they are being ignored. Based on statistics, it suggests the latter. The school strikes for climate are getting attention but I feel that more strikes may be required to really get the attention of the government. More petitions. More fed up councillors and council workers complaining about being bombarded with emails and phone calls from citizens worried about the climate. To be heard, lets really make some noise. Email your local MP, your ward councillor, anyone that you can. Bombard them and encourage others to. Attend strikes when you can and yell at the top of your lungs. After all, this is an emergency and something needs to change.
Our planet is screaming out for help and we have to answer her.