Group lobbies their MP on the side of the River Thames

'The Time is Now' mass lobby

On Wednesday 26 June 2019 Greener UK and The Climate Coalition co-organised a mass lobby for climate, nature and people called The Time is Now.

School children, farmers, grandparents and nature lovers were amongst an estimated 12,000 people who lobbied more than 300 MPs for urgent action on the natural environment and climate change.

People registered from more than 99% of constituencies in the UK. Two Christian Aid supporters cycled from Botley in Hampshire. Farmers ventured from Devon. WI members headed down from Northumberland. Wildlife Trusts volunteers came to speak to their MP from Lincolnshire.  

Bernard Jenkin MP in a Time is Now rickshaw before meeting his constituents
Bernard Jenkin MP in a Time is Now rickshaw before meeting his constituents (credits below)

At least 220 MPs came out to meet with their constituents. Time is Now lobbyists waited to meet their MP in a queue that wended its way down Millbank, across Lambeth Bridge, and up the eastern bank of the Thames. 

It was the largest ever environmental lobby of parliament.

At 2pm lobbyists rang phone alarms and alarm clocks to symbolise that ‘the time is now to act’. There were also Mexican Waves, messages noted on seed paper that spelt out ACT NOW (to be planted), and a wilded WWF phone box in which members of the public could leave messages for the country's leaders.

Time is Now lobbyists ring their alarms at 2pm
Time is Now lobbyists ring their alarms at 2pm (credits below)

The day also saw leaders from different faith communities, including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, gather for a ‘Walk of Witness’ from Trafalgar Square down Whitehall. 

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams led a Walk of Witness down Whitehall
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams led a Walk of Witness down Whitehall (credits below)

Greener UK and The Climate Coalition were urging politicians to pass ambitious new laws that restore nature, cut plastic waste and improve air quality, and to support measures that end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2045.

The lobby was covered by BBC News, The Guardian, Sky News, Today (at 2h52), The Daily Express (in print) and Farming Today, among others. 

Shaun Spiers, Chair of Greener UK, said:

“The broad range of people and organisations supporting the lobby shows the feeling across the country that urgent action is needed, starting with an ambitious environment bill and policies that put us on track for net zero emissions by 2045. The time to act is now.”

Tanya Steele, Chief Executive at WWF, said:

“Public concern for the environment is at an all-time high, and for good reason. We are destroying the planet, and jeopardising the survival of people and wildlife. Our leaders must make bold decisions now and commit to invest in technology and policies that accelerate emissions reductions and put nature on the path to recovery.”

Thameenah Kara, 19, who travelled from Coventry to meet her MP, said:

“Climate change needs to be acknowledged more and bolder policies need to be taken to ensure that we have a future.”

 

NOTES

  1. All photos above are credited to Joe Newman and Greenhouse PR.
     
  2. The Climate Coalition is a collection of over 130 organisations representing more than 15 million people across the UK dedicated to protecting things that could be lost to climate change and limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities. Coalition member organisations range from aid agencies such as CAFOD, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief and Oxfam to community groups such as the Women’s Institute and conservation bodies such as WWF, RSPB, the National Trust and The Wildlife Trusts.
     
  3. Scientists have reported that nature is declining at globally unprecedented rates, and a million species face extinction. Children across the UK are now breathing toxic air. Aiming to respond to the climate crisis, the UK government has set a target for net zero emissions by 2050, following advice from the Committee on Climate Change.
     
  4. Information ahead of the lobby was published here, with a helpful guide here. You can still download the poster here.