A climate strike demonstration

Political Action Tool Kit

A UK edition by Matt Trinder
A climate strike demonstration

Political Action Tool kit

You joined Mossy Earth because you wanted to make a difference. This political action tool kit will help UK readers to do just that.

1. Contacting your local MP or MEP

2. Petitioning

3. Working with your Local Council

4. Staging a Demonstration

You joined Mossy Earth because you wanted to make a difference. This political action tool kit will help UK readers to do just that.

1. Contact your local MP or MEP

2. Petitioning

3. Working with your Local Council

4. Staging a Demonstration

Contacting your local MP or MEP

To contact your Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of the European Parliament (MEP) concerning an environmental issue, use the Writetothem website (https://www.writetothem.com/). Writing is the best way to do it. Your representative is obliged to get back to you, and it provides a written record to refer to later on. They usually reply by email, and post a typed letter copy too. I recently contacted my MP about making London a single use plastic-free city, and she replied by email to confirm she would question the deputy mayor of London on my behalf concerning the issue. She then forwarded a paper copy of the deputy mayor’s reply to me a few weeks later.

Be sure to contact the representative from your local area though; if you contact someone else’s they’ll ignore you as they’re busy enough with their own constituents.

The more people who contact the representative with the same or similar message the better as they are more likely to feel under pressure to act, so to magnify your voice it’s best to write a template letter and encourage friends to send it in too. If your MP responds positively request a meeting.

Writing to your MEP or MP

Contacting your local MP or MEP

To contact your Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of the European Parliament (MEP) concerning an environmental issue, use the Writetothem website (https://www.writetothem.com/). Writing is the best way to do it. Your representative is obliged to get back to you, and it provides a written record to refer to later on. They usually reply by email, and post a typed letter copy too. I recently contacted my MP about making London a single use plastic-free city, and she replied by email to confirm she would question the deputy mayor of London on my behalf concerning the issue. She then forwarded a paper copy of the deputy mayor’s reply to me a few weeks later.

Writing to your MEP or MP

Be sure to contact the representative from your local area though; if you contact someone else’s they’ll ignore you as they’re busy enough with their own constituents.

The more people who contact the representative with the same or similar message the better as they are more likely to feel under pressure to act, so to magnify your voice it’s best to write a template letter and encourage friends to send it in too. If your MP responds positively request a meeting.

Petitioning

On a national scale, petitions submitted to https://www.gov.uk/petition-government which gain 10,000 signatures automatically elicit a response from the government. 100,000 responses will see it considered for debate in Parliament.

UK government and parliament petition
UK government and parliament petition

Petitioning

On a national scale, petitions submitted to https://www.gov.uk/petition-government which gain 10,000 signatures automatically elicit a response from the government. 100,000 responses will see it considered for debate in Parliament.

Locally, each council has its own system of submitting local petitions so please check on their website if you intend to collect written signatures in your local area. Make sure any information you provide signatories is clear and accurate, and that all participating individuals are residents of your local area to avoid it being invalidated.

 

Working with your Local Council

Encouraging your council to rewild vacant land is a great way to increase the environmental biodiversity of your local area, as well as normalising the concept of rewilding.

Engaging with your local council can be complicated, however. To make things easier it’s useful to find out what type of council it is. Unitary Authorities are responsible for all local services. Where there are two tiers, often a County Council and then a District, Borough or City Council underneath, responsibilities are divided. County Councils are responsible for issues such as motorways, transport and strategic planning, whereas second tier Councils are concerned with housing and planning applications, and local parks. It’s likely that this tier would be concerned with an environmental/rewilding issue. Check for details on their website. Once you know you can approach the right one directly.

You can also contact your local councillor using the Writetothem website mentioned above. Alternatively, all councils hold full meetings up to 5 or 6 times a year, and some allow the public to attend and speak. These details should be available on their website. It’s a great opportunity to encourage your local representatives to act, or to submit a petition.

An apartment block with trees on every balcony
A climate change protest sign

Staging a Demonstration

If you’re organising a public march you must tell the police in writing 6 days beforehand by law.

They have the power to change the route of your march, limit its duration, and set an attendance limit.

If there’s no march organised as part of your protest, you don’t have to tell the police.

The police can also remove a sit-in protest if it blocks a public highway or essential services.

Don’t forget to generate as much publicity by blogging, sharing on social media, and contacting local or national newspapers. Environmental issues are increasingly mainstream so the interest will be there.

Locally, each council has its own system of submitting local petitions so please check on their website if you intend to collect written signatures in your local area. Make sure any information you provide signatories is clear and accurate, and that all participating individuals are residents of your local area to avoid it being invalidated.

Working with your Local Council

Encouraging your council to rewild vacant land is a great way to increase the environmental biodiversity of your local area, as well as normalising the concept of rewilding.

Engaging with your local council can be complicated, however. To make things easier it’s useful to find out what type of council it is. Unitary Authorities are responsible for all local services. Where there are two tiers, often a County Council and then a District, Borough or City Council underneath, responsibilities are divided. County Councils are responsible for issues such as motorways, transport and strategic planning, whereas second tier Councils are concerned with housing and planning applications, and local parks. It’s likely that this tier would be concerned with an environmental/rewilding issue. Check for details on their website. Once you know you can approach the right one directly.

An apartment block with trees on every balcony

You can also contact your local councillor using the Writetothem website mentioned above. Alternatively, all councils hold full meetings up to 5 or 6 times a year, and some allow the public to attend and speak. These details should be available on their website. It’s a great opportunity to encourage your local representatives to act, or to submit a petition.

Staging a Demonstration

If you’re organising a public march you must tell the police in writing 6 days beforehand by law.

They have the power to change the route of your march, limit its duration, and set an attendance limit.

If there’s no march organised as part of your protest, you don’t have to tell the police.

The police can also remove a sit-in protest if it blocks a public highway or essential services.

A climate change protest sign

Don’t forget to generate as much publicity by blogging, sharing on social media, and contacting local or national newspapers. Environmental issues are increasingly mainstream so the interest will be there.

Young people demonstrate at a climate change march

Climate Strikes

The 2019 Global Week for Future saw a series of 4500 strikes across over 150 countries, on Friday 20th and 27th of September, gathering more than 4 million protesters.

Young people demonstrate at a climate change march

Climate Strikes

The Global Week for Future saw 4500 strikes across over 150 countries, on Friday 20th & 27th of September, gathering more than 4 million protesters.

Sources & further reading

✅ for peer reviewed research

  1. 1. Writetothem https://www.writetothem.com/
  2. 2. Creating a petitionhttps://www.gov.uk/petition-government
  3. 3. “School pupils call for radical climate action in UK-wide strike” – Matthew Taylor, Sandra Laville , Amy Walker , Poppy Noor and Jon Henley 2019 – The Guardian – theguardian.com
  4. 4. More articles by Matt Trinder – Braking Muse – breakingmuse.org

Sources & further reading

✅ for peer reviewed research

  1. 1. Writetothem https://www.writetothem.com/
  2. 2. Creating a petitionhttps://www.gov.uk/petition-government
  3. 3. “School pupils call for radical climate action in UK-wide strike” – Matthew Taylor, Sandra Laville , Amy Walker , Poppy Noor and Jon Henley 2019 – The Guardian – theguardian.com
  4. 4. More articles by Matt Trinder – Braking Muse – breakingmuse.org