Climate Action Preston
I used to think caring about the environment through lifestyle choices, joining green organisations, volunteering for conservation trusts etc would be enough. People doing their bit and building greener communities at grassroots level is important, but change can only be successful with government policy behind it. MPs are there to represent their constituents. We should let them know about issues we are concerned about, and the more of us who do this, the more they might pay attention.
It’s particularly important now as a general election is approaching. MPs will be highly sensitive to what the public are asking for. How can you reach your MP? Research shows that, in order of effectiveness of influencing MPs, e-petitions have the least impact, then pre-prepared emails from NGOs, personal emails, handwritten letters, tweeting your MP and, best of all, meeting your MP in person.
Here are a few tips on how to write or talk to your MP.
- This website ‘They Work for You‘, can help you get in contact with your MP, research your MP before you contact them to see how they have voted in parliament in the past.
- Be polite and respectful, though do express your feelings about the issue you’re bringing up.
- If possible, start with finding some common ground.
- Say a bit about yourself and why you care about the issue. Making it relevant to your local area or constituency is particularly useful. Climate change can be difficult to make locally relevant, as it is really a global problem but you can link the climate crisis to local issues such as: energy bills, extreme weather events, decline of wildlife.
- Make clear what you would like them to do e.g. meet with you and/or your climate action group, vote for a green bill in parliament, speak to a cabinet minister (energy, transport, etc) about your concern.
- Keep your email short and concise. Follow up after a couple of weeks with another email or phone their office if you have heard nothing back.
- Top tips for lobbying your MP from Greenpeace
- Talking to your MP about climate change from Greenpeace
- What is happening in Parliament
- Climate Change Committee, the government-appointed advisory body on climate
- Conservative Environment Network: If your MP is a Conservative this can be useful
- The Climate Coalition website