Greenbelt Festival: What did we learn?

Campaign Coordinator, Jo Musker-Sherwood, writes about her experience talking with Greenbelters about their efforts to engage their local MP on climate change.

Jo and Chris handing our free cake to Greenbelters. Photo Credit: Leah Gordon, USPG.

Jo and Chris handing our free cake to Greenbelters. Photo Credit: Leah Gordon, USPG.

Many of my days as coordinator are spent behind a computer screen researching MPs and writing resources. As interesting as that is, the best part for me is when I get to meet with the people who are the ones actually on the ground engaging their MPs and local communities on climate change. 

Most of us attempting to engage our MPs, myself included, are not climate science, policy or technology experts. We are ordinary people who are increasingly aware of a crisis unfolding under our noses and with an increasing conviction that something ought to be done about it pretty quickly. That is for me, what made Greenbelt such an inspiring experience- each and every constituency context is different; each person and MP and church and group and town is different. I loved learning from that and it is Hope for the Future’s mission that our support is tailored as much as possible to these varying differences. As a national organisation, we can bring the experience that comes with many MP meetings but it is only when this is joined with the knowledge and insight of each local person wanting to engage their MP that the magic begins to happen. 

Thank you to everyone at Greenbelt who shared their perspectives, insights and frustrations with us! Our conversations focused on finding out more what makes each individual MP tick, what the big issues are for local communities, and what the barriers are to local and national climate action. Together, we came up with strategies for moving forward with our local communities and MPs and we hope to continue to be alongside the people we spoke with to support them in their work moving forward.

With all the goodwill in the world, it’s not always easy to work with your local MP, especially if they seem utterly disinterested in climate change or have values that appear so wildly different from your own. This is particularly where we believe we can help- with one to one support and the time to carefully plan and carry through a strategy together.

For support working with your local MP email us at hopeftf@gmail.com or take a look at our regional advice surgeries to see if we’ll be visiting near you soon.