Our friends from 350.org have written a blog about the impact of Hope for the Future’s training on their Divest Parliament campaign. Tytus Murphy, one of the campaign’s organisers, writes below…
Divest Parliament is campaigning for MPs to divest their pension fund from fossil fuels. We don’t think it makes sense for MPs to put reducing carbon dioxide emissions into statute law on one hand, and on the other, invest their pension in companies like BP and Shell whose business plans undermine international efforts to tackle climate change.
A fundamental way we organise is to empower constituents to engage their MP on this issue by getting them to sign our campaign pledge. The research and workshops offered by Hope for the Future on how to effectively engage MPs on climate issues has been integral to us realising this way of organising and helped us grow the campaign nationally.
178 former and current MPs have now signed the pledge. These include the leaders of the Labour Party (Jeremy Corbyn), Scottish National Party (Ian Blackford), Liberal Democrats (Vince Cable), Plaid Cymru (Liz Saville-Roberts), Green Party (Caroline Lucas) and a growing number of Conservative MPs!
We have incorporated the learnings from Hope for the Future into our very own interactive two hour workshop that we’ve delivered all across the UK (from Totnes to Glasgow!). Participants learn all about the importance of researching an MPs Parliamentary record (and their personality!), finding common ground and building a constructive dialogue based on respect and good will.
These workshops have enabled us to form ace lobbying crews in target constituencies who have had great success in getting MPs to sign the Divest Parliament pledge during surgery meetings. What’s really encouraging is that these locals now have a rapport with their MP and have laid the groundwork to lobby them about other important climate and social justice issues in the future.
Hope for the Future have taught us the importance of not viewing MPs as a means to a campaign end, but rather, as human beings who are motivated to serve their constituents and the same hopes (and fears!) we all have. In times of such polarised discourse, these teachings are a breath of fresh air on how to have constructive political discussion and bring about the positive changes we so desperately need to tackle climate change.