Doncaster WI members take part in mass lobby at parliament calling for drastic action on climate change and plastic pollution
WI members from Bawtry and Dunsville have travelled to Parliament to meet with their local MP, Caroline Flint, to call for her to back efforts to halt climate change and pass ambitious new laws benefiting people and wildlife.
Gillian McCallum and Sue Barwell made the journey to London on Wednesday 26 June to join more than 15,000 people from every UK constituency – including school children, nuns, farmers, doctors and surfers – urging MPs to back action on climate change and plastic pollution. ‘The Time is Now’ mass lobby was organised to call on politicians to put in place policies to end the UK’s contribution to climate change and ensure an upcoming Environment Bill includes ambitious legal requirements to improve air quality, protect wildlife and tackle plastic pollution. Gillian McCallum who is a WI Climate Ambassador, said: “This was something that was out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to take part for the sake of my children and future generations.
“The climate crisis is not something that will wait and it was amazing to see so many people from so many different walks of life unite to call on our politicians to take urgent action on the issue.” The mass meeting, which was held in the area surrounding the Houses of Parliament, was organised by campaign groups The Climate Coalition and Greener UK.
The two coalitions consist of more than 130 organisations representing over 15 million people – including the WI. Caroline Flint, Member of Parliament in Don Valley, was supportive of the WI’s aims to end the UK’s contribution to climate change and tackle plastic pollution and promised to write to the Prime Minister and the Environment Secretary to raise their concerns. The lobby was held following an announcement by the government that it will set in law a target of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to ‘net zero’ by 2050.
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Campaigners at the lobby called on politicians to support measures aimed at achieving the goal. This would mean gases emitted by cars, planes, buildings and farms would have to be cut and not exceed the amount that could be removed from the air through measures such as tree-planting.
Scientists say this is necessary to avoid temperature rising more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which climate change will make floods and heatwaves worse in the UK and jeopardise food and water supplies for poor communities overseas. The organisations involved in the lobby argue that emissions should reach net zero by 2045 because of the need for urgent cuts and because of falling costs and technological developments. Lynne Stubbings, Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: “Climate change is the single biggest threat to the people and places we love, both here in Britain and overseas. “Hundreds of WI members travelled to Westminster to ask their MPs for urgent action on climate and protecting the environment. “We need cleaner air, healthier soils and oceans that are havens for marine life. “In order to safeguard our world for the future, government needs to make its net-zero pledge a reality and commit to ending plastic pollution by 2042.” Neil Thorns, Chair of The Climate Coalition, said: “We’ve seen with the government’s commitment to a net zero target how much of a difference people can make when they speak up on an issue. “Now our politicians have to back the policies which will meet that target, as well as pass the laws we need to protect wildlife and clean up our rivers. “The people who have travelled to Westminster to speak to their MPs are going to play a hugely important role in persuading them to do this.”