Yesterday four of us at the World Development Movement went to Westminster, to ask the Treasury for jobs. Unfortunately for gossip fans, this wasn’t a scandalous defection from our office on Offley Road, London in protest at the underuse of the office wormery for our compost, or in outrage at the lack of solar panels on our roof. Instead the queue asking for jobs outside the Treasury was of a coalition of 250 supporters from groups as wide-ranging as the Women’s Institute, UK Youth Climate Coalition, Quakers, Population Matters and the RSPB.
Green jobs must be a vital part of our economic future. Our carbon-intensive model of economic development is no longer sustainable and we must find ways in which we can provide employment to people in the UK without adding to our growing climate debt. This is no pipe dream, a third of UK economic growth already derives from ‘green’ sectors of the economy but many more jobs could be created if we moved decisively towards a more sustainable economic model.
At the World Development Movement, our grassroots supporters, local groups and our campaigners are speaking up for poor countries in the global south, where grassroots movements are telling us that they need us here in the UK to act now for climate justice. Thanks to the work of active local people campaigning and pressuring their MPs, the government announced last year that they would give most of its money to the World Bank’s adaptation fund, the PPCR, as grants rather than loans and give £10 million to the UN Adaptation Fund. World Development Movement supporters have been tirelessly keeping the pressure up to ensure that the government doesn’t backtrack on the progress gained last year and consigns climate loans to the dustbin of history.
Over 5,600 World Development Movement supporters have sent ‘no new climate debt’ postcards to Andrew Mitchell, the (now former) secretary of state for international development, to ensure that the UK can’t get away with imposing new debts that force poor countries onto their knees. Find out more about our work for climate justice.
And if you can travel to London for Saturday 20th October, you can meet up with other World Development Movement supporters to fight the cuts. The march has been called by trade unions, and hundreds of thousands of protesters are expected to show the government that austerity isn’t working. We will meet at St Paul’s at 11am to assemble before joining the march. The bloc will have the support of dozens of radical activist collectives, like Biofuelwatch, Climate Rush, Frack Off, Friends of the Earth, Occupy, People & Planet, Stop Hinckley, UK Tar Sands Network and many more.
The right to free speech and protest in the UK has historically been fought for long and hard, so that demonstrators are protected by the law. There will be also legal observers from Green & Black Cross taking notes to ensure that the police facilitate demonstrators' right to protest. If stopped and searched by police, Green and Black Cross advise that there is no stop and search power under which you have to give your name or details. Green and Black Cross recommend that anyone arrested by police makes no comment to any police questions, and ask for Bindmans solicitors, who can be contacted by phone on 020 7833 4433. They will have pens available for protesters to write “Bindmans, 020 7833 4433” on their arm before or during the protest.