From the time the group was re-formed at the beginning of 2006, South East Essex Friends of the Earth has been campaigning on Climate Change as part of The Big Ask. We collected around 2000 postcards from stalls at Southend, Rayleigh, Billericay, Basildon and Burnham asking local MPs to support Early Day Motion 178 calling for a Climate Change Bill demanding annual cuts in the UK’s CO2 emissions. We also gave out energy saving light bulbs courtesy of the Energy Saving Trust at these stalls.
All our local MPs signed, with the exception of Angela Smith, who couldn’t because she was a junior minister. In total, 415 MPs signed and in November 2006, a Climate Change Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech. The Government held a public consultation on the draft Climate Change Bill and a number of SEEFoE members submitted responses before the consultation closed in mid-June.
Since then, the group has held another Big Ask stall, this time at the invitation of the Co-operative Society who screened An Inconvenient Truth at the Odeon in Southend. Again, postcards were collected and light bulbs given out.
The next step in the Big Ask campaign nationally is to get the unwavering support of 60 Labour MPs which, with the support of Conservatives and Lib Dems, will force the government to amend the Climate Change Bill. There are six MPs to be targeted in the east of England, the most local to us being Andrew MacKinley in Thurrock. I will be talking to Howard Whitehead at FoE Head Office soon about how we can help.