Like many other trackers had yet to properly ‘Adopt my MP.. having been outside of London completing my masters.. but FINALLY , this month I managed to line up a couple of opportunities to meet with him…alongside some of my other activist friends..
5th Nov- Portcullis House-
As I walked towards parliament, clutching my copy of the ‘Sustainable Livestock Bill’ briefing notes (written by Friends of the Earth)…it felt like I should be pinching myself.. “what the heck am I doing in Parliament?”, I thought to myself, “people like me don’t just meet politicians every day!..”.
I was there to ask our local MP, David Lammy- to pledge his support for the Sustainable Livestock Bill- part of Friend’s of the Earth’s “Fix the Food Chain” campaign. For those of you who haven’t heard about this, the campaign had 3 main points:
- There is a hidden link between the meat and dairy we eat here in the UK (much of this from factory farming)..and wildlife/rainforest destruction in South America
- Animals in thousands of British farms are pumped full of protein to make them grow faster. Most of this comes from huge Soy plantations in Latin America.
- WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?- Big businesses are destroying rainforests to make way for these soy plantations, contributing to a number of environmental problems…DEFORESTATION, CLIMATE CHANGE, LOSS OF WILDLIFE and our NATURAL LIFE-SUPPORT SYSTEMS…to name a few.
Once we got through the airport-style security barriers, and had our pictures taken (for our visitors passes), it all became much more real and civilised.. David greeted us warmly and found us a table in what looked like a canteen area, complete with cafe style tables and trays…I looked to my left and saw Dianne Abott sitting at the next table…(SO COOL!)…
We started the meeting. Another member spoke about the devastation he had seen on the ground in Latin America, and spoke of the situation of people living on the land that had been destroyed to make way for these plantations. Normal people, trying to make ends meet…It really made me think about where my food was coming from..and the real cost to our environment.
I watched as my MP took in the evidence, asked a few questions about the campaign, and carefully scrutinised the briefing notes prepared by Friends of the Earth. He told us that he was aware of the issue, and that he supported the bill in principle…BUT he wasnt sure just how many other MPs would be willing to pledge their support!
We needed just 100 MPs (out of ALL the MPs in the entire country) to turn up to VOTE on this new law…(Lesson #1 for me about politicians: sometimes they need to know they aren’t putting themselves out on a limb..).
So there you have it…my first “environmental lobby”.. Not at all as scary as I was expecting..(Lesson # 2: Politicians are people too! (well most of them..)). Although our lobby took the form of a pretty informal chat, it gave us the chance to present some serious concerns to our MP, backed up by a few solid points of evidence…
After all, it is their duty to represent us when they go to Parliament, so what better way to make sure they actually DO JUST THAT. Taking part in a lobby can really make the difference between them getting in to vote or not…so this is REALLY important to how decisions get made in our country!