The Night is always darkest before the Dawn

December 16th, 2019

Oh, what a horrible/weird time – I somehow had hopes for that election being a turning point….

Well, I’m taking heart from Caroline Lucas – she was ‘returned’ with an even greater Green majority in Brighton; and she gave an inspiring speech on Twitter. The night is always darkest before the dawn….

I’ve just written a letter to my MP (with our Christmas card – back cover in pic above); and I’ll send one about plastic to the Prime Minister’s partner, Carrie Symonds – she’s an environmentalist with Oceana, surprisingly enough… Liz Bonnin gave a frightening presentation on Friday in London about the damaging situation with plastic waste in the seas.

Dear Mark Harper,

First, congratulations on becoming our MP, again….! Second, there is no way I want to be rude or disrespectful, but I do want to burst the bubble of victory a little I’m afraid… I wonder if you’re aware of what people outside the Conservative ‘home’ are feeling….?

I think about climate change nearly all the time (as you might have guessed from my previous ‘grandmother’ letters…). I feel a deep sense of despair and hopelessness (tears in my eyes as I write this…) at the moment, along with millions of other people in the country I think….

This election felt as if it might rise above politics and be a collective human decision to address the emergency at long last. The world is clearly not working as it is – other countries are already paying the devastating price. So, we need radical change.

How influential is the Conservative Environment Network? (I wrote them/you and Richard Graham a letter a while ago, with no reply…) Is there any chance of a Conservative version of the Green New Deal?

I understand of course that there is pressing urgency to address the problems in the NHS, Social Care and employment in post-industrial areas, but all these (in fact, every policy) should be approached in tandem with an environmental agenda. 

There will be no future for anything if we do not tackle the climate crisis. 

On a positive note, we should view some of the challenges as opportunities. 

A green industrial revolution is definitely possible – there has been wonderful work done on preparing for it, providing jobs for people and establishing a better relationship with the environment. I was interested to read about Heather Mills’ vegan factories in the North East.

2020 should be the start of real change.

As the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the COP25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid: “Climate change is no longer a long-term problem. We are confronted now with a global climate crisis. The point of no-return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and hurtling towards us. Our war against nature must stop.”

Tens of millions of homes must be insulated soon; and large-scale road and airport building are not compatible with cutting emissions.

Trade with Brazil must cease, until the large-scale Amazon deforestation stops. And trade with the USA must include many caveats – how can a ‘civilised’ country, our special relations, be determined to leave climate change out of any trade deals….?

Please meet with Chris Stark from the Committee on Climate Change urgently. What has happened since the report in October clearly instructing the UK government to tell the public we need to make big lifestyle changes to cut the country’s carbon footprint?

This year, and no later, there need to be highly visible public information messages, on television, radio and posters.

As I write my campaigning letters etc I feel myself getting increasingly calmer. I’m realising that, thank goodness, there are determined people around striving for change, which gives me hope.

BUT this awareness has not trickled through to the general public, I fear. The roads are as busy, BP dominates, meat counters are thriving, adverts for cars and holidays abound…With a terrorist threat, it’s important to carry on as ‘normal’, so the perpetrators don’t win. This climate threat/reality is going to get worse if we carry on as normal. 

Our behaviour must change.

And we need big legislative changes – we can’t turn things around on our own.

Will the radical environment bill, setting firm targets for conservation, published by the government in October be re-introduced into Parliament in this new term? I hope so. I note, in a BBC online report, that it was published ‘against the wish of the Treasury’. Bad news, as is the Treasury’s unhealthy links with oil companies…

Existentialist grief is never far away (a state I hope you can relate to, from your philosophy studies). The most poignant part is that, since the election, I can see it affecting my children – despite the fact they’re now grownups, I still have the instinct to protect them. They should not be worrying about the future like this. 

I noted, in a Guardian study about the attitude towards climate change of all the parties, that the Conservatives understand the passion of the young school strikers but do not condone them missing their education. Where can people with no power take their passion?

I really hope your party will arrange to meet the UKStudentClimateNetwork please. Instead of despairing that no-one seems to be listening to them, they are continuing to organise themselves, with imagination and articulacy (and very little funds…). Joe Brindle, aged 17, is planning a youth-led parliamentary reception in the new year – I’d be grateful if you could find out more about this by researching the UKSCN.

And primary school age children deserve to be given hope (not platitudes) about their futures. I am so impressed with, and moved by, their young determination – I hope environmental doors won’t be closed in their faces….

Now, I can’t avoid the controversial subject of Extinction Rebellion. Their methods are unpopular, I know (and illegal, sometimes), but again, what are they/we all supposed to do if our concerns are not taken seriously….? They are giving us a taste of global disruption – an inconvenient truth.

I’m sure all environmental activists would agree with me – we’re only ‘agitating’ because we can see no other way….

Time is running out now – please be pro-active and urge our government at all possible occasions to start emergency actions urgently, underpinning every aspect of our lives.

We’re all relying on you. You have the power! Please use it wisely!

Best wishes,

Emily Thwaite

Happy Christmas everyone, especially Sharon in Australia!

2 thoughts on “The Night is always darkest before the Dawn

  1. Thank you and I sincerely hope it is a good Christmas for you and your family. Right now I am feeling more than a bit ashamed of our government here in Australia and its failure to address urgent climate issues. Your blog is a source of inspiration and hope.


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