In June and July, prompted by Hope for the Future, over 50 members of St Mark’s wrote to Andrew Jones their local MP to express their concern about climate change.
So what’s happened since then? Firstly, Mr Jones wrote back, including personal letters to the children who wrote about their futures with climate change. While it was polite of him to reply and say how involved he was with local environmental issues and a little about the current government policy, in many cases he did not fully respond to the request for details of how his party (Conservative), if re-elected next year, would reach the necessary minimal target of a 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
To follow this up a small group representing St Mark’s met with Andrew Jones on 30th August. They had a long and constructive discussion with him sharing views on the lack of decisive political leadership on this long term, but critical area. He agreed that strong policies were required and that there was cross party consensus that action was needed. He also promised to pass on our concerns to the manifesto group. The group from St Mark's have subsequently written to him with a list of these points.
On 21st September some members of St Mark’s also joined with others from churches in the area and many form the local community at the “Peoples’ Climate March” in Knaresborough. In so doing they united with millions around the world marching to call for international action to prevent run away climate change, just ahead of world leaders meeting in New York on 23rd September.
So what happens next? Aware of how hard it is for politicians to keep the long term challenges of climate change at forefront of their minds, they will be chasing up on the commitments Mr Jones made and also seeking to meet with the parliamentary candidates from the other parties.