"Global, Local, Personal”- Former DEFRA Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman MP, talks to us about tackling climate change

Caroline served as Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under Cameron’s Government and now serves as Second Church Estates Commissioner alongside her constituency work in Meriden. She spoke powerfully about climate change at the last Church of England General Synod and can recall interest in the environment for as long as she can remember. Her PhD covered renewable energy, she loves gardening and has been an outspoken advocate for climate action during her long and successful political career.

‘Absolutely everyone can do something about climate change’ Caroline encouraged us, ‘it’s about the global, local and personal. We need all three.’

Global

Caroline warned against the dangerous myths perpetuated by the media that climate policy is bad for business when in fact it is businesses, and the treasury, who will bear the financial burden of unchecked climate change. China, for example, is doing amazing work in developing renewable technology and she recommended this as a strong example to draw upon when demonstrating the potential of the green economy to MPs. China has recently moved substantially on its stance on climate change due to rising air pollution concerns. Air pollution is something we can draw upon here in the UK (see our air pollution resources), but Caroline also warned against the issue being used as a political football; unrealistic policies lead to false expectations. We need cross-party work on a global issue such as this, not to pitch one party against another.

Caroline also recommended migration and global security as a focal point for climate lobbying.

Local

One cannot underestimate the importance of working in partnership with our MPs. It’s difficult for an MP who is seeking to serve their constituents to do their job when they are presented with unrealistic demands or abuse. Some of the stories that Caroline had for us certainly opened our eyes to the reality of MP surgeries! Caroline also encouraged us to ensure that as many people as possible are included in the climate change discussion as many feel left behind. She encouraged lobbyists to work in partnership with local groups from all areas within our communities, working together towards a more sustainable world for everyone.

Personal

Caroline’s personal conviction about climate change was clear; ‘absolutely everyone can do something about this issue’, she assured us, ‘and we haven’t got a great deal of time left to reverse the damage caused by global warming’.

Hope for the Future’s approach is grounded in the real advice and input of MPs across the political spectrum, as well as our own lobbying experience with hundreds of MPs across the UK. We offer training and one to one advice for anyone interested in having their voice heard on climate change. Contact us for more information about how we can support you with your lobbying work.