- 79% of UK adults say climate change is still a very significant issue.
- 75% of UK adults believe that if the government does not act now to invest in a greener future, we’ll go back to normal and the opportunity will be lost.
- Nearly one third of Brits have become more politically active during COVID-19.
- Tearfund calls for the UK Government to transition to low-carbon and nature-friendly industries, invest in green jobs and infrastructure and support the most vulnerable at home and overseas.
- In the world’s poorest countries this means debt cancellation to build resilience to both the COVID-19 and climate crises and shifting public finance from fossil fuels to clean energy.
Thousands of people across the UK have signed up to take part in the world’s biggest ever virtual lobby calling for a green and fair recovery next Tuesday (June 30 2020).
Participants will be calling on local MPs and government to prioritise policies and investment to build a resilient economy that is green and fair, protecting the most vulnerable in the UK and around the world.
The virtual lobby gives the public an opportunity to meet their MP online, harness the national momentum building for a green recovery and demand action - including for people in the world’s poorest communities. MPs from all major Westminster parties are expected to take part, as interest in environmental issues remains at an all-time high.
Paul Cook, Head of Advocacy at Tearfund, said: “The church has a vital role to play in shaping a better future for everyone. This is a great opportunity to speak out and ensure Christians are involved in these conversations about the reboot of our world and economy.
"The world is on course for catastrophic global temperature rises that put our world, the global economy and millions of lives at risk. Every fraction of a degree of warming matters. In this context, the UK is at a turning point.
"As we build back from the current health crisis, we have the opportunity to rebuild a resilient economy that benefits everyone in society and tackles climate change and nature’s decline, creating jobs and protecting the most vulnerable in the UK and around the world. We need to see true climate leadership that provides a vision for a better future.”
Tearfund is working alongside partners in dozens of the world's poorest countries to respond to climate change and Covid 19, in Zimbabwe where restrictions have come at a time when much of southern Africa is facing severe droughts, exacerbated by climate change. This has led to families struggling to feed themselves. Jonas, a father-of-three from Harare, said. “If I stay at home as recommended by the government, my family will starve. Who will feed them?”
Tearfund is working with partner organisations in Zimbabwe building water tanks, providing soap, encouraging hand washing and distributing cash to vulnerable families who can’t buy food or basic necessities.
New research of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by The Climate Coalition, has uncovered that seven in ten (70%) people want the government to undertake stronger climate action. Almost three quarters (72%) believe we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to tackle climate change and protect the environment.
Over eight in ten (84%) believe we need to protect nature for future generations and almost two thirds (61%) believe climate change will impact the most vulnerable in society as we have seen during COVID-19.
Digital activism is on the rise, with over half (59%) of those surveyed increasingly looking to use social media for protests and lobbying MPs. Meanwhile a third (36%) admit they are actively looking for ways to virtually attend protests and lobby politicians during lockdown, increasing to 60% among those aged 18-34.
The lobby is being organised by The Climate Coalition, which consists of over 100 leading UK organisations representing more than 20 million people. They are the largest group of people dedicated to action on climate and the ecological crisis who are coming together online to demand that their MPs invest in a greener, fairer, healthier society. Alongside Tearfund, members of The Climate Coalition include RSPB, Women’s Institute, National Trust, Greenpeace, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, WWF and many more.
More than 11,000 people, representing 96% of constituencies across the UK, have already signed up to take part and arrange a meeting with their MP to get the government on track to accelerate the transition to net-zero, invest in green jobs and infrastructure, restore nature and support the most vulnerable at home and overseas.
Resources on finding your local MP, template emails and details on green recovery asks can all be found online here, and people are being urged to join this rallying call for change.
A day of activities will take place on the same day on ZOOM - the video conferencing platform - with guest speakers and panel discussions with environmental journalist Lucy Siegle, amongst others.
This year’s virtual lobby follows last year’s The Time is Now event which saw more than 12,000 people travel to Westminster to talk to over 380 MPs about how the UK needs to tackle climate change and nature’s decline.
To sign up and take part in the Virtual Lobby visit: https://www.theclimatecoalition.org/virtual-lobby
Notes to Editors
For interviews with Paul Cook, Head of Advocacy at Tearfund, please contact:
Mel Barnston, Senior Media Officer
07929 335 146
Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency and a member of the Disasters’ Emergency Committee. Tearfund has been working around the world for more than 50 years responding to disasters and helping lift communities out of poverty. For more information about the work of Tearfund, please visit www.tearfund.org.
Research conducted by Opinium in June 2020, surveying 2,002 UK adults.
About The Climate Coalition
The Climate Coalition is the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action against climate change. Along with our sister organisations Stop Climate Chaos Cymru and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, we are a group of over 140 organisations — including the National Trust, Women's Institute, Oxfam, and RSPB — and 22 million voices strong. www.theclimatecoalition.org