Young People Call on MPs to Back the CEE Bill: “We are waiting for change before it’s too late”
September 02, 2020 by Extinction Rebellion
- MP Caroline Lucas has been handed a copy of the Youth’s ‘Letter to Power by activist Wren Savage, 10, which she will take to Parliament this afternoon as she tables the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
- The letter containing the urgent demands of young people aged 6 – 20 from Culture Declares Emergency, XR Youth, XR Families, Parents for the Future, UK Student Climate Network and the Almeida Theatre Young Company highlights important aspects of the CEE Bill and is released publically today ahead of the parliamentary session
- The CEE Bill has growing support from author Kate Raworth, Julie Ward MEP, conservation scientist Dr Charlie Gardner, Rebecca Long-Bailey, climate scientist Dr Emily Grossman, ecologist Prof. Jess Ollerton and Nadia Whittome MP
- Hundreds of people write and share their own ‘Letters to Power’ – for their voices to be heard and for change to be made
Today Green MP Caroline Lucas tables the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE Bill) in parliament and young people from up and down the country call on her, the Prime Minister and all other MPs to Act Now and embrace this legislation.
In advance of this afternoon’s parliamentary session, young people took to Parliament Square to make their voices heard yesterday Tuesday 1st September, the day that Parliament re-sat after summer recess. 9 young people, aged 6 – 20, read aloud a collectively penned letter written by dozens of young people from across the country, to an audience including MPs Caroline Lucas and Alex Sobel. In it they express their exhaustion, disappointment and also hope that their futures can be protected. They beg for the government to listen to the science and that they, in accordance with the CEE Bill, take all appropriate measures to reduce the United Kingdom’s emissions, restore and regenerate its soils, biodiverse habits and ecosystems, and reduce its overall anthropogenic impact.
“Dear British Government,
I feel that it is necessary that I remind you that you alone hold our fate and our future children’s fate in your very hands”
“I am scared and I’m sure you are too, I don’t want to live in a world where the Earth gets hotter every year. I don’t want to live in a world where the seas rise every year causing natural disasters to appear more frequently. How will we get enough oxygen without the trees? We could be at a tipping point and there will be nothing we can do. What will happen then?”
The group of young people, including co-founder of UKSCN Daniela Torres Perez, handed copies of their Letter plus the CEE Bill to MPs Caroline Lucas and Alex Sobel who responded to their calls and promised to take their demands to parliament today so as to enlist more MPs to add their signatures to the bill.
Contributors to the letter include:
Anay (9), Lucas (15), David (11), Jacob (9), Ria (9), Harkiran (15), Norah (6), Rosie (11), Daniela (18), Cat (17), Eden (20), Dulcie (14), Trilby (13), Lilli (11), Ashby (18), Luke (12), Tia (15), Nivya (12), Evie (13), Saibh (12), Noel (16), Tabitha, Ollie (12), Agnes (18), Alex
The full letter is available for print and wide distribution here.
The youth’s letter is part of a wider campaign run by Letters to the Earth and Culture Declares Emergency inviting the British public to write a letter to those whose power, influence and decisions are determining the course of our lives.
“Our economic and political systems are still prioritising profit over people and planet. Yet these systems have never been as exposed or vulnerable as they are now. We need to hold to account those in power; the voices of the young need to be heard. The health of our communities and our planet depend on it. Letters to Power provides a vehicle for people to raise their voice at this political and social crossroad; to find their own power and to demand action and change.”
Kay Michael, co-founder Culture Declares Emergency and co-director Letters to the Earth
The Climate Emergency Bill is drafted by an alliance of scientists, lawyers and activists and is gathering support from a broad range of campaign groups, businesses, charities and individuals including former director of Friends of the Earth. The bill has the potential to become the most significant move forward since the Climate Change Act 2008.
“This Bill outlines the path needed to avoid the catastrophe outlined by the United Nations…it is farsighted aiming to protect those at risk now and in the future.”
Kumi Naidoo, former International Executive Director of Greenpeace International and Secretary General of Amnesty International.
The CEE Bill has already received the full support from a wide range of fields including, Volans– the forerunner in business sustainability- co-founded by John Elkington (World authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable capitalism and renowned for the sustainable accounting term the ‘”triple bottom line’); Bill McKibben, environmentalist, author, and journalist, and co-founder and Senior Advisor at 350.org, an international climate campaign that works in 188 countries around the world; and Kumi Naidoo, (former Executive Director, Greenpeace International and Secretary General, Amnesty International; and Chair, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity).
The CEE Bill is due to be tabled as a Private Members’ bill today between 2 – 4pm, in the opening week of Parliament. This initiates its path through parliament where there is little over a year before the UK is due to co-host COP26 – the critical UN Climate summit. Such is the significance of COP26 that the UK has announced the ‘Year of Climate Action’ and this CEE Bill would signal the serious ambition of the UK’s leadership on climate and ecological action and would cement the UK’s unequivocal commitment to global equity.
NOTES TO EDITOR
About Letters to Power
Letters to Power is the current call-out of the Letters to the Earth campaign. In February 2019, allied to the launch of Culture Declares Emergency, the public were invited to write a Letter to the Earth in response to the climate and ecological emergency. The invitation was open to interpretation and open to all. Letters of love, loss, hope and action were written by over 1000 people from all over the world – from 4 year olds to great grandparents, artists, scientists, nurses. A new story emerged and an award-winning book of 100 letters was published. For Letters to Power, the invitation is to raise your voices and hold to account those whose power, influence and decisions are determining the course of our lives. #LetterstoPower will be shared from 1st September as part of the Rebellion and call to Parliament to back the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
About the Back the Bill campaign and the CEE Bill
The Climate & Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill is a brand new initiative starting on its path as a grassroots campaign to build an alliance around this proposed law.
Parliament declared a climate emergency last May—followed by the Government’s revised 2050 net zero target of last June 2019. However, according to the Climate Change Committee, the Government’s net zero target, which, if replicated across the world coupled with ambitious near-term reductions in emissions, gives us but roughly a 50:50 chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C. However, this level of carbon mitigation to avert further global heating is premised on an allowance of carbon budgets which factors in the uncertainty and reliance on negative emissions’ technologies. In sum, this 50:50 probability risks —as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned—biodiversity loss and ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’.
The CEE Bill is aligned to the most authoritative, evolving scientific research related to our dual planetary emergencies -both climatic and ecological -within the context of global fairness. We are therefore calling on MPs to support and pass the CEE Bill as a critical piece of UK legislation to enact the emergency measures in response to the climate and ecological crisis.
More about Culture Declares Emergency (CDE)
Culture Declares Emergency (CDE) is a growing international movement of over a thousand individuals and organisations in the cultural sector declaring climate and ecological emergency. This means telling the truth, taking action and seeking justice.CDE launched in April 2019 as the first professional declaration movement. Our call to action has been taken up by many sectors including Architects Declare & Music Declares, with whom we collaborate on leveraging change. Read our joint statement here.
Several declarers are forming supportive communities in areas such as Bristol, Kirklees and Lewisham. CDE has sparked the formation of Culture Declares groups internationally in Hannover, Paris and elsewhere.
On Friday 28th August more declarations of Emergency were made by: BFI, Royal Court, Manchester Museum, Bristol Old Vic, Rubber Republic, Hijinx theatre, Pound Arts, Watershed, Cambridge Junction, AND Festival, Kirklees Museums, rb&hArts, National Theatre Wales, Julies Bicycle, Complicite, Library of Change, People’s Palace, Oxford Contemporary Music and Inbetween Time.