Is causing chaos at government events the only way to attract institutions’ interest in climate action? Green New Deal Rising seems to think so
Following the publicised interruption at Priti Patel’s most recent Conservative Association Spring Dinner party, many have been curious to discover just who the Green New Deal Rising (GNDR) are and what they stand for.
So who are they?
The GNDR define themselves as a youth climate activist group with a game-changing plan to stop climate change and build a world in which we can thrive. The movement intends to call out politicians’ empty words and broken promises with the aim of changing the direction of the current regulations. They hope to ‘rise up’ in the very world we call home and make the necessary differences now to protect the things people genuinely care about. The GNDR is specifically targeted at those aged 16-35 (millennials and Gen Z) as they believe we are united through shared experiences growing up, therefore having a unique perspective on the climate crisis and boasting incomparable opinions on the impact.
What are their goals?
With a determined action plan for the next two years, the GNDR has a clear purpose and aspirations. The five most significant changes the GNDR are working towards are: decarbonisation; job security in the high emission sectors; an economic shift in support of the planet; protection and restoration of biodiversity and the environment; and promoting global justice.
The organisation also plans to disrupt the political system; force politicians to choose a side; make the GND an era-defining issue; and elect inspiring GND champions. Since their launch in August 2021, they have trained and welcomed more than 500 young people into the movement, as well as challenged more than 40 MPs, and reached out to thousands of young people inviting them to join the movement.
How can Parliament members help?
The motivation for the GNDR interfering with government conferences is to push for those in power to enact climate action. Policies take effect when starting in top-down institutions. In order for the GND bill to be passed in parliament, serving members must approve its contents before GNDR members can act on the legislation. Notable MPs who have already backed the bill include Jeremy Corbyn, Zarah Sultana and Nadia Whittome of the Labour party. It is also worth mentioning that of the 36 MPs currently supporting the GNDR, none are of the Conservative party (correct as of 11/05/2022).
Youth climate activism
Having previously interrupted chancellor Rishi Sunak during the COP26 summit and earlier this year at the South West Conservative Party conference, the climate group are not shy of making themselves known. But just how have we got to the point where disrupting government parties is the only possible way for institutions to acknowledge climate change? At what point will young climate activists be taken seriously?
The lack of urgency from governments globally is something we should all be concerned about. These are the very leaders who took power in order to make positive changes and protect future generations, so why are they ignoring the most visible and concerning threats to humanity? Governments have the ability to influence and mobilise a coordinated front in the steps towards preventing climate catastrophe but have thus far chosen to ignore it.
What can I do?
Arguably making changes on an independent scale is helpful and most certainly a step in the right direction, but when the wealthiest 10% of the world’s population were responsible for over HALF of the carbon emissions produced from 1990 to 2015, it seems almost ineffective. The GNDR are constantly welcoming new members to get involved in their actions. The campaign group suggests getting started by attending a welcome call to understand their motivations and how they plan to succeed.
If getting involved physically isn’t something you’re capable of, then they suggest helping to fund the movement, signing up to receive regular updates and reaching out to your community. Another step that would be constructive is getting in touch with your local MP – the group has a template letter outlining the importance of government support in passing the bill. The more parliament members that support it, the greater the chance of actioning positive change and limiting the climate crisis.
Raising awareness about climate change is not only crucial for our generation but the future ones too. Any progress made so far needs to be amplified globally; this is a planetary emergency and will affect everyone. Whilst it would be lovely to think we still have time before the crisis begins, that may be too farfetched of an idea at this point. Pivotal change is required now and on a much greater scale than we already see. The crisis requires just as much media coverage, intergovernmental collaboration, technological innovations and global public support as the pandemic, and we must act now.
Katie Mortimer 12/05/2022