Climate Change

By showing our MPs how much we care about climate change we give them a mandate to press for change.

In February members make green hearts to demonstrate how much they care about the people, places and things they want to protect from Climate Change.

The Earth’s atmosphere is warming, and having a big impact. The hotter weather, the storms and increase in flooding is caused by climate change. The seasons are changing and upsetting plant growth, affecting Bee populations and wildlife habitats. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels for energy, farming, and by destroying forests. To protect the future, man-made greenhouse gas emissions must be cut drastically. Fossil fuels must be replaced by renewable energy and we must use less energy and be more efficient in the energy that we do use.

In support of The Climate Coalition the NFWI recruit and train members as voluntary Climate Ambassadors who lobby local government, co-ordinate local Climate Coalition events and facilitate our engagement in climate campaigns.

Below we hear from Jill Bruce who is a Climate Ambassador and Climate Change Speaker in Essex.

It’s one day out of our lives!

“When NFWI invited us to the Climate Coalition rally in Westminster in 2015, I and my WI friends thought “it’s one day out of our lives, let’s go along”. We met a marine biologist there from my constituency with similar concerns and we decided to take action together.

Our MP, Bernard Jenkin, had agreed to meet us there but we were so far away from the Houses of Parliament, on Lambeth Bridge, he couldn’t reach us, so we arranged to meet at a later date in Colchester. Alongside the survey results from NFWI, showing that of 1000 WI members, 74% were concerned about climate change I gathered information from the Royal Society in preparation and practiced what I would say to him. The appointment went well, I found Bernard to be well informed on climate change issues but he snatched the WI results from my hand. MPs really care how we vote! He shook our hands when we left saying “very good lobbying” and readily agreed to our request for a public meeting, suggesting speakers, a venue and a sponsor.

The meeting, chaired by Bernard Jenkin, was a great success, we learnt a lot about Climate Change and made some useful contacts. There were speakers from Essex Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, a Buildings Engineer and a Professor from Essex University.

In the following two years we held two more successful public meetings with Bernard Jenkin’s support. The 2017 one was held in February as part of the “Show the Love” campaign. I also worked directly with Bernard’s local policy forum last year to hold a fourth public meeting in October at the University of Essex called Tackling Climate Change -The Hot Debate, which Bernard again chaired. The aim was to have expert speakers on Energy, Transport, Housing and Food each putting forward sensible policies with questions and a panel discussion. At the end the audience voted on their preferred policies. We were very fortunate to have Representatives from Greenpeace,10:10, Sustainable Energy Association, Number 10’s policy forum and NFWI Public Affairs attended. I subsequently persuaded Mr. Jenkins to write to the relative parliament ministers regarding the issues raised. Another Climate Change meeting is planned for 2018.

Thanks to all I’ve learnt along the way, I’ve become a WI speaker on Climate Change, and had my first booking to speak to a local WI in August 2017. I now have 6 bookings for 2018, so what I thought would be “one day out of my life” has become a very interesting permanent feature!

You really need to be well informed when you meet your MP to be able to compete with big business lobbyists. Make sure of your facts to be able to counter their arguments. As volunteers, with the backing of thousands of WI members we have a strong voice but we have to keep up the campaign pressure. Out of sight seems to truly be out of mind, so we try to do something for every Climate Coalition week of action and Show the Love campaign. Knowing that others around the country are also raising the issues with their MP gives us confidence that we are pushing climate change higher in their priorities.”

Jill Bruce

WI Climate Ambassador, FEWI

Chappel and Wakes Colne WI

 

SHOW THE LOVE

NFWI SHOW THE LOVE IN 2018

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Last year 500 members requested the community pack and over 130 WIs sent in photos from their community events. NFWI want to build on this and make 2018 even bigger! A community pack with exciting ways you can take part and new craft and baking templates and green heart stickers will be ready by November.

Please email publicaffairs@nfwi.org.uk to receive the community pack and stickers when they are ready, and specify whether you want to receive them via post or email.