The rise of youth climate activism has been a political game-changer. With the right to vote for 16-year olds being a key demand of student Climate Strikers, how can young people's voice and calls for climate action be reflected in politics?
The youth climate strikes have taken place on Fridays with young people marching to political centres of power such as Parliament Square in London. In the UK, MPs are typically not in Parliament on Fridays, but at their constituency surgeries.
The legislators network GLOBE International has initiated the first Student-MP Climate Surgery on Friday 5 July 2019 during London Climate Action Week 2019 to put a practical spin on #FridaysforFuture. There are 73 MPs in London. One in nine of every UK member of parliament is a London MP.
This year GLOBE will be holding the second Student-MP Climate Surgery again during London Climate Action Week 2020.
Putting students in the driving seat, this is an opportunity for young people to ask what their London MP is doing about the climate emergency and hold them to account. For example, by asking...
-- Last year the House of Commons declared a climate emergency and adopted a Net Zero law on carbon emissions. What does this mean on the ground?
-- How are climate impacts affecting the local community? What will Net Zero mean for local schools, jobs, homes, air quality and transport options?
-- What lessons have been learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic for the Climate crisis? What are MPs doing to ensure recovery from COVID-19 integrates the UK's climate commitments and promotes a Green, Fair and Resilient Recovery?
-- How are MPs engaging with the UK's hosting of the UN climate summit (COP26) in November 2021? What are they doing to raise UK ambition for acting on climate change?
This event turns MP's traditional Friday surgery into a platform for climate dialogue and political education for young people. Empowering students to raise questions with their MPs directly is an exercise in practical citizenship and democratic accountability.
For MPs the Student-MP Climate Surgery is a valuable opportunity to interact with concerned young people on climate change, learn about local concerns and respond to them.
Initiated as a pilot during London Climate Action Week 2019, it is intended as a mutually beneficial two-way dialogue and learning opportunity, making visible young people's concerns and identifying solutions.
It builds on GLOBE International's educational engagement with schools at LCAW 2019, created in close collaboration with the World's Largest Lesson and London Sustainable Schools Forum. The lessons plans for teachers produced conclude with an exercise to write a Letter to their MP which dovetails with this effort.
TO TAKE PART IN THE STUDENT-MP SURGERY ON FRIDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2020:
1. Please find your MP using the link below from our friends at They Work For You.
2. Email your MP with your request to meet with them on Friday 20, November as part of the Student-MP Climate Surgery during London Climate Action Week.
Here is a suggested template.
Please use the suggested subject heading 'Meeting request 20/11- London Climate Action Week' and copy your email to us at <MP-Surgery@globelegislators.org>
3. Consider meeting your MP with fellow students and accompanied by a teacher/ appropriate adult. Here is a list of participating schools.
4. Given the demands on MPs time and COVID-19 restrictions, meetings may be virtual via MS Teams or Zoom. We are encouraging MPs meeting virtually with groups of students, or where possible, appropriately socially-distanced at suitable venues.
5. Please write-up / report back on your meeting with your MP and share widely. We would love a copy and for you to keep us in touch with your progress.