Hope for the Future supporter and former volunteer, Simeon Wilton, meets with his MP, Tommy Sheppard to talk net zero carbon and getting students engaged in politics.
In May, I met with my MP Tommy Sheppard at one of his surgeries to discuss climate change with him. It was great to meet Tommy in person and know that my elected representative is a real person, who is working hard to represent our constituency.
I was accompanied by Sarah from Hope for the Future. Sarah had given me helpful tips about how to talk to my MP and common tendencies that both activists and politician resort to. This was helpful to keep the conversation on topic and at a human level.
I was surprised just how easy the meeting was and how willing Tommy was to be on board with my asks. He was obviously concerned by Climate Change. In fact his aide told me that it was because of climate change that Tommy travels between London and Edinburgh by train rather than planes. Many other Scottish MPs opt to travel by plane, which has a much higher carbon footprint, so I found it encouraging that he had chosen to have more environmentally friendly travel in his own life.
We both talked about importance of mitigating climate change. Tommy was obviously frustrated by the low priority the Westminster government had put on this issue. In contrast he thought the Scottish government was looking like they might reach their 2020 renewable electricity target early.
Tommy agreed to sign to the cross party letter from Simon Clarke MP in principle. The letter has been signed by over 70 cross-party MPs so far and is being supported by the Climate Coalition in their Speak Up Week of Action 2018. The letter, addressed to Theresa May, asks for UK government to enshrine in law a net zero emissions target for 2050. This target is achievable and necessary for reaching the Paris agreement. After reading the letter, Tommy agreed to sign. The first SNP MP to add his name.
He has also agreed to come to a climate change event that I am planning on running next semester talking about climate change with students and how young people can engage in politics.
I felt very encouraged by the meeting and that we can actually get our elected representatives to speak up on the issues that we care about.
What is next? As well as my event next semester with Tommy, I will also be contacting my MSPs to get the net zero target in the 2018 Scottish Climate Change Bill. Who knows maybe I will contact my MEPs and councillors about to talk about climate change too!