The UK Huffington Post has this piece about popular Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas in the United Kingdom. Lucas is the first Green to get elected to Parliament in the UK.
Shortly after making history, Caroline Lucas gave a speech on Glastonbury’s pyramid stage, called for drugs to be decriminalised and won the Spectator’s much-coveted parliamentarian of the year award.
It’s been a busy year for Britain’s first Green MP – and she’s not planning to slow down. Her next project is shaking up the green movement, who she admits have “failed a little bit” to engage the public.
“Until recently I think the wider green movement and the green party included in it were too much focused, understandably, to waking people up to the climate crisis that would be rather than attracting people by painting a positive picture of what a zero carbon economy could look like. And I think fear isn’t a great motivating influence.”
For her, the green movement is about improving people’s lives – tackling the problem of fuel poverty, creating jobs and growth.
“Instead of just saying ‘we’ve got to act because climate change could be dreadful’, we’ve got to act because this could be a way of creating lots of jobs and also insulating lots of people’s homes and reducing their fuel bills so they’re not living in poverty and dying prematurely.
“I think we’ll have a much better job of doing it if we don’t always talk about the doom and gloom and hairshirts. The sense that the climate change agenda is one about doing without and giving things up is a very negative agenda. It turns people off.”
Sitting at a desk crowded with annotated print outs from bill sub-committees she speaks quickly, offering to help clarify quotes if my dictaphone can’t pick up it all up.
The sense of urgency is understandable. For Lucas, climate change has been relegated down the political agenda – and it’s up to her to tackle that within parliament as the most powerful representative of the green movement in the country.
“It’s just crazy”, Lucas says, that the Government aren’t instigating a 1930s style New Deal for green energy.
“We know climate change is happening, we know what is causing it, we know what we need to do to address it. What’s lacking isn’t the technical knowledge, it’s not even the money actually it just comes down to the political will to say ‘this is a priority’.”
She believe it comes down a Catch 22. Lucas thinks the politicians are waiting for the public pressure to act, whilst the public assume if it were serious the politicians would be acting already.
“That’s such a dangerous conclusion to draw because it is that serious and politicians aren’t doing something about it and they’re not doing anything about it because they don’t feel under the pressure from the public.”
Read the entire article here.