Speaking up for the love of energy justice
In June 2015, Totnes Quakers joined 10,000 people to lobby the UK parliament on climate action.
Care for the environment and energy justice are close to my heart, as they are for those Quakers who joined me at the Speak Up Climate Lobby, where more than 10,000 people queued up outside Parliament to speak to their MPs about climate change.
Preparing for the lobby
Although I may have initially thought I was going to attend on my own, it was encouraging to find other local Quakers who were planning to go. We joined together to prepare bunting, banners and questions for our MP, and also planned a local vigil. An Elder at Totnes Meeting, Wendy Stayte, did much to encourage us. Wendy helped to organise meetings for us all to connect before the lobby, and arranged the actual appointment in London with Sarah Wollaston, our MP.
Meeting with our MP
From Totnes there were about 11 of us who met with our MP, not all Quakers, and we all felt frustrated and almost despairing at the lack of meeting of minds between us and our MP. However, we had a short break in the middle of the meeting, and it gave us a chance to realise, with Wendy's lead, that we needed to focus on areas of agreement in order to feel we were having any communication. Afterwards, I realised that it was a Quakerly approach, and it helped us achieve more than we would have if we had gone in with guns blazing.
We left the meeting having agreed to meet with the Environment Minister when Sarah Wollaston invites her down to Totnes to see some of the local initiatives there.
Sitting on the grass together after our session we each spoke of our frustration and disappointment, of the need to keep nudging. We appreciated the time our MP spent with us. Letters of follow up to her, and to the local paper were arranged. One of the challenges is to keep motivated and active when there seems so little movement...however knowing others who share these feelings is helpful.