Around 13,000 people are expected to take part in the biggest virtual lobby of parliament on record and join calls for a ‘green and fair recovery’ from the coronavirus pandemic.
Taking place today (30 June), the mass lobby was organised by the Climate Coalition, an alliance of green campaigners and NGOs, and included an action to hold a ‘virtual cup of tea’ with local MPs.
Social media users were asked to take a photo of a cup of tea and invite their MP to discuss support for green policies post-Covid. By Tuesday afternoon, almost 100 virtual meetings with MPs had taken place, with another 100 due to happen.
The Climate Coalition also ran a virtual conference of sessions around what the green recovery might look like, with chairs including environmental journalist and Wicked Leeks columnist Lucy Siegle, Springwatch’s Gillian Burke and Radio 1’s Cel Spellman, and with speakers including singer and green campaigner Ellie Goulding, environmentalist Chris Packham and youth activist Birdgirl, Mya-Rose Craig.
Goulding, who has been re-sharing tweets of people whose invites have been ignored by their MP, tweeted: “Let’s get #TheTimeIsNow trending. Time for rebuilding…but it MUST be green!!”
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed his plans to “build Britain back to recovery” by spending £5 billion on infrastructure projects, including hospital maintenance, schools and prisons.
Green MP Caroline Lucas criticised the plans on social media and said the proposed £40 million to boost local conservation projects is less than £1 per person, while the 3,000 new jobs in conservation is fewer than five per constituency.
In comparison, this week French president Emmanuel Macron has announced a new £13 billion fund for climate measures, Lucas said.
The Climate Coalition, sent its seven-point action plan to a green recovery to Downing Street last week, with points including:
- Promote climate resilient investments and growth in green jobs
- Accelerate private sector investment in the UK clean energy transition
- Establish a netzero rule, including conditional bailouts for business based on plans and action to align with net-zero and 1.5°C.
- Align all UK public finance with a just energy transition
Other campaign groups have laid out similar roadmaps, including a report by the Wildlife and Countryside Link, which has presented a list of over 300 ‘ready-to-go’ nature recovery projects as contenders for financial support, Business Green has reported.
Elsewhere, NGO Greenpeace has published its costed plan to a green recovery, and said a fund of £100 billion could create 1.8 million new green jobs in industries such as energy, transport and housing.
“The actions taken now by governments to respond to the current health crisis and rebuild our economy will have an impact for generations to come,” the Climate Coalition said.
“These actions will determine whether we succeeds in our goal to protect the people, places and life we love from the climate crisis. We can limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, halt and reverse the decline of nature and eradicate poverty, or we can lock in pollution and inequality for generations.”