Pulling the levers of power happens in many different ways. Protesting outside Barclays’ head office to stop them funding oil pipelines gets lots of attention, but we also need to talk directly to the people in power.
With 650 MPs – plus local councillors and other decision makers – there’s a lot of ground to cover. Volunteers around the country lobby their local politicians, talking to them about environmental problems and promoting the solutions Greenpeace advocates.
Our volunteers are passionate and determined people who want to see change happen. They keep in contact with their MPs via letters, emails or social media, and meet them in person if there’s something really important to discuss. It’s about effective and persuasive communication, as well as building relationships with MPs and other politicians to make sure urgent environmental issues are on their agendas.
Lobbying at a local level has an impact on national and even global issues. Network members have often been able to meet with their MP when Greenpeace hasn’t been able to meet with the relevant minister. This way, our concerns have still been heard by government – because of lobbying volunteers.
Lots of big political decisions have happened partly because of the network lobbying their representatives. Victories include…
- In 2018 the government backed the creation of an Antarctic ocean sanctuary, thanks in part to the work of the volunteer networks.
- The government recently ran a public consultation on the introduction of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles (which has now been legislated for in Scotland) and lobbying by our volunteers was instrumental in making this happen.
- Volunteers are also keeping the pressure on MPs and councillors about the climate emergency, making sure this stays on the political agenda. For example, they encouraged their MPs to meet with youth striker Greta Thunberg, to attend Labour’s debate on declaring a climate emergency and tweeted Cabinet Ministers about the need for net zero legislation – which was introduced in June 2019.
- Members of the Network have also encouraged more than 100 MPs to sign a pledge on reducing the production of single-use plastic.
You don’t need to know lots about how politics or parliament works, or be able to recite stats on carbon emissions. You just need to care about environmental issues and be willing to talk to decision-makers about why they matter to you. We’re here to give you the training and support to help you put your passion into action.
Through our online volunteer platform, Greenwire, you’ll be able to chat to other volunteers in your area and around the country to hear about each others’ experiences and share tips.
Interested? Just fill in the short form below and we’ll be in touch soon. You’ll need an address in the UK and must be 18 or over to get involved. Greenpeace is committed to being independent and non-partisan, which unfortunately means you can’t join the network if you’re an elected representative of an area, such as a local councillor. Have a look at our other volunteering opportunities to find another way to be involved.
Get in touch with Laura Burley, who supports our Political Lobbying Network, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.