The RSPB and other partner organisations in the Stop Climate Chaos coalition have been in town halls in the run-up to the general election - organising people to ask their parliamentary candidates the climate question: If you're elected, what will you do to stop climate chaos?
Of 50 'Ask the Climate Question' events organised by the coalition, the RSPB put on 13 events ranging the length and breadth of the country - including in Stafford (shown right).
RSPB project manager Alissa Cook played a key role in organising the events, and gives this report:
"The hustings were very popular – with a total of over 900 people attending! Parliamentary candidates from all the main parties were put through their paces by passionate voters who packed out town halls across the UK all hoping to ask their climate change question.
"Lively debate and the odd heckle raised the temperature, and beads of sweat had to be discretely mopped from brows.
"Candidates in Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South were left feeling a little hot under the collar by an articulate 8-year-old who wanted to know what the candidates planned to do about the litter problem in his town. And an 80-year-old from Manchester Withington didn’t give his candidate an easy time when he argued vehemently that there was no need to holiday abroad as we have some fantastic countryside and wildlife on our doorstep – as long as we look after it. Jeremy Paxman would have been proud of those performances.
"People exercised their democratic right further. Some of our hustings attracted peaceful protesters showing their dissatisfaction with their politicians and the policies they were standing for. One particularly unfortunate candidate was even chased into the hustings by a giant fox!"
Environment issues as a whole, and the key issues of climate change and biodiversity loss, have had only variable media coverage on the national stage during this election campaign. But the good news is that many feisty voters have been pressing home these issues' importance to politicians on their doorsteps.
As well as the RSPB-organised events, WWF, Tearfund, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Greenpeace, CAFOD, Stop Climate Chaos and Green Alliance have arranged 'Ask the Climate Question' events nationwide - reaching thousands more voters and dozens more parliamentary candidates. See what they've been up to here.
Visit the RSPB's general election pages to hear what party spokespeople are saying about the environment - and don't forget to cast your vote on Thursday.
7 May update:
The UK has emerged from the polls with a hung Parliament and David Cameron has held out his hand to the Liberal Democrats with an offer of collaboration. He's said that the transition to a low carbon economy is an area where the Conservatives and Lib Dems could find common ground. That's music to the RSPB's ears. Just today our Chief Executive Graham Wynne has said that the climate mustn't be a casualty of the hung parliament. Action on this urgent agenda is just what our hundreds of supporters called for when they 'asked the climate question.'