The Time is Now - 12,000 people demand action directly from their MPs

Photo by Sophie Busch

We went along and joined the lobby line in Westminster on 26 June - along with 12,000 others, and 300 MPs!

On 26 June, 12,000 people came together, prompted by asks from the coalition of charities Greener UK, to lobby their MPs for action on the climate and environmental crisis facing all of us. We at the Wildlife Trust BCN were there, too, as part of the wider Wildlife Trusts movement, lobbying our own MPs and talking with as many people as possible about the need for a strong Environment Act for a Wilder Future.

People gathered in groups according to their constituencies and collectively made up a line of people along both banks of the RIver Thames in Westminster and over Lambeth Bridge, patiently waiting for their MPs to appear. All MPs had been invited by Greener UK, and had been given details of the day - as well as receiving letters from individual constituents - and over 300 came talk to their constituents.

Between us, we were pleased to hear Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge), Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire), Lucy Frazer (South East Cambridgeshire) and Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire). Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire) and Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) both sent representatives from their offices, and I am looking forward to arranging a meeting with Jonathan Djanogly at his constituency office to discuss the issues in person at a later date. We couldn't get round to all our local MPs, but we hope any of you who were there got an opportunity to meet them.

It was wonderful to be part of a huge gathering of people who care deeply about what the government are doing (or not) to protect our environment, and particularly inspiring to see representatives from a huge range of charities all coming together under the same banner. People were knowledgeable, passionate and respectful, and not afraid to hold their representatives in government to account. Real conversations about what more can and should be done were happening everywhere along the line. It feels, genuinely, like the tide of public opinion is turning and that momentum is gathering for stronger, faster and more direct action to reverse the damage we are doing to our environment.

Sophie, Sophie and Kevin in the lobby line, East Anglia region

There is more to do

But there is always more we can do, and we mustn't be complacent. We need to keep the pressure on our representatives in government and make sure that the Environment Act, currently in draft form and passing through Westminster, is as strong as it needs to be to enable nature's recovery. We need it to have a strong independent watchdog to hold organisations, individuals, councils and the government itself to account; and we need the building of a Nature Recovery Network to be enshrined in law.

Government, and a growing number of councils around the UK, have declared a Climate Emergency - and this is a hugely positive step. But we need action to reverse the damage, and for all decisions of governments and institutions to be made through this lens of an emergency. Expectations, targets and plans need to be adjusted accordingly, and we need to hold them to account.

What you can do

If you haven't already, please consider joining our campaign for a Wilder Future, and adding your voice to thousands of others calling for a strong Environment Act. Your backing amplifies our voice, as well as raising yours, and is not to be underestimated.

Please also write independently to your MP and tell them why you think nature is important, and what you think they should be doing to make a difference. We have some guidance on our website to help you structure your letter. You could also arrange a meeting in person - this can have a fantastic impact.

Together we really can make a difference, if we act now. It's not too late.

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Debbie McKenzie