I might be a little way round the globe, but I’ve taken a little time to write to my local Member of Parliament in England. I’m writing from an area of the world where the wishes (and votes) of the citizens are routinely undermined by powerful, corrupt politicians. Living in a democracy where your voice can still make a difference is a luxury you may take for granted.
Dear Mr. Hope,
As a member of your constituency I have an important plea for your consideration, from my current location in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia.
I left my home in Middleton in June 2007 on an expedition to travel round the globe by bicycle. Over the last 8 months, I have pedalled my way through 14 countries, covering 7,500km by pedal power to my present location in the Caucasus. Although this is only a fraction of the total distance I expect to cover during the next few years, my journey has revealed in reality important worldwide issues that I was only previously aware of in theory.
I have dealt with the stupendously hot spring and conversely wet summer of Western Europe in 2007, picking ripe blackberries in June in Holland and again in October in Bulgaria, while reading news of tornadoes in London. I saw glaciers in Switzerland that were shrinking annually rather than advancing through the mountains. I heard an 80-year-old Turkish fisherman lamenting the rarity of snowfall on the Black Sea coast over the last two decades. I endured the freak minus-20-degree winter temperatures — the coldest in 25 years — in Georgia, and listened to the director of WWF Armenia telling me he hoped that his daughter would be able to play in the snow in the future. I thought back to my own childhood, when snow in winter was commonplace, and tried to remember the last time a significant amount had fallen in England.
These extreme weather patterns, changing climate trends, and effects on the environment itself, that I have now seen with my own eyes, in addition to the widepread evidence provided by the scientific community to anyone with the guts to listen, are the reason I am writing to you now. I implore you to add your vote to the Climate Change Bill which, based as it is on now-obsolete information, should be amended to include a carbon dioxide reduction target of at least 80% by 2050.
This is a global issue, and countries such as ours with the capacity to lead by example have a moral obligation to act NOW to prevent a future in which the generations of tomorrow must spend their time on the planet dealing with the consequences of our actions today.
Should you be interested, a website with more information on my journey can be viewed at www.ride-earth.org.uk.
Please add your vote to amend this Bill.
If you feel strongly enough to spare a couple of minutes of your time on Planet Earth, you can send your local MP a letter from a purpose-built website by WWF UK, which will find your local MP’s address based on your postcode, and even write a draft letter for you, before emailing it directly or making it suitable for printing and posting. These MPs are waiting to hear from you — that’s their job.
If you live in England but you’re still not convinced about this issue, you may be interested to read this article. More general information can be found at the WWF’s own site. And in millions of other places all over the world.
And if you want to find out how you can easily reduce your own demands on the environment, it actually could not be easier, thanks to the WWF’s One Planet Living project. Don’t feel bad for brushing it under the carpet. Feel good for doing your bit!