So that is what we did! 13,000 people signed up with Climate Action to lobby their MPs via over 200 Zoom meetings on 30th June, and I was one of 50 people who questioned David Johnston, MP for Wantage.
Watch the short video below to see why we were zooming it
Rather than use my own words, I am including a link to the Time is Now’s website which explains the campaign better than I can.
And there is something we can ALL do: read and sign now this declaration to Boris Johnston to tell him why his government must act now!
Our meeting with David Johnston
The 50 of us at the meeting took the opportunity to talk to our MP because we realise that we cannot expect to return to life exactly as it was before, so we wanted to find out what he thinks about a green, healthy recovery programme.
My questions about local matters
I said that our local issues centre on housing and transportation and the need to decarbonise them. Although there is a need for new houses built to high standards, there must also be higher priority given to the refurbishment (retrofitting) of the millions of existing buildings. And although we see lots in the press about providing cycle tracks and 2-way walking paths in Central Oxford , will the promised government funding be sufficient to extend this to rural areas? Like many other villages in Oxfordshire we do not have a cycle track to the nearest town, only a winding and dangerous road. And we are in danger of losing the few buses we still have, which will leave older people unable to get out of the village?
Questions and comments from other constituents
The meeting started with questions and comments about the developers building estates around Harwell and Didcot who are not providing the social housing, sustainable housing and green spaces as they were required to do.
Many people agreed that one positive thing Covid 19 had done was to show that people can cope well when they have to, and that they help others to manage. Government must realise that they need to get everyone on their side, regardless of party, ethnicity etc. if their plans are to work.
And there was much more, including an interesting comment that given Brexit has happened, we must capitalise on our new position of no longer being restricted by EU rules: we need to make new sustainable trade links; a real POSITIVE change is needed.
From Mr Johnston’s answering comments:
It is vital that developers fulfil their promises on new housing.
On refurbishment of existing housing stock, he said that a Green recovery was important–we must not waste the opportunity – retrofitting must happen. The problem is that there is a skills shortage.
He had voted for the recent Agriculture bill that said farmers could be paid to protect the environment (better soil, air, water quality).
He agreed that no coal should be used to generate electricity by 2024, Govt. should no longer invest in coal mines etc overseas, and there should be a local electricity bill: communities should be encouraged to generate their own electricity
There must be a strong emphasis on people’s livelihoods. He gets lots of mail saying aviation should not be given money to rebuild their businesses, but lots of employees with modest incomes are working for them. If they have no job to go to, they will not support green policies. So they need alternatives to go to.
The most important outcome of the virtual climate lobby
It must be that 13,000 citizens have had the opportunity to make their MPs aware of how they feel about the importance and urgency of the Climate crisis.