Congress vox pops

Inspired by Tony Juniper’s call for a new green message, Green World asked delegates at the Global and European Greens Congress in Liverpool how they felt we should be convincing others to join us in the fight against climate change

Dr Jill Stein, US Green Party Presidential Candidate: 

Greens have to remember that we can tackle climate change and improve the economy at the same time. In my experience, there are absolutely no challenges with this message, apart from getting to the microphone, where we as Greens are kept away because our message is so compelling.

But a Green New Deal, that would provide emergency jobs – essentially a job for everyone because there’s plenty of work to do in order to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 – revives our economy, it stops climate change in its tracks, it makes wars for oil obsolete, and the best news is it pays for itself in health savings alone. It’s a win-win-win. It’s all about standing up for what we need, what we deserve and what we as Greens are leading the charge for.

 

Sheng I-Che, Trees Party Taiwan Co-Chair Person: 

Nothing is better than education, because education, especially in the fields of science and technology, will make sure that people know climate change is real and that is not a fiction. The best way to change politics so that this happens, and so that policies like carbon taxes are instituted so that those that pollute the most pay the most, is to participate in politics.

In Taiwan, before there was an environmental protection party, the other parties focused on economics and other issues, but when we participate, others start to talk about the environment, too, because they also want to earn the votes of people that care about the environment, so that’s a way in. The best thing, though, would be if Green parties were elected in every country and could directly change policies!

 

Regina Asendorf, Green member of Lower Saxony’s parliament: 

It is difficult to counter all the lies about climate change because it happens over hundreds of years, and people don’t think about things in hundreds of years – they can barely remember the weather from yesterday. So, we have to explain it with simple examples that people can see now – like the fact that flowers in Germany are now blooming two weeks earlier than they did just 30 years ago, or like the fact that my children want to go sledging but there is not enough snow in winter anymore. We must also avoid being too intellectual, which is something Greens sometimes do.

 

Marie Thérèse Seif, Political Board Member, Green Party of Lebanon: 

Our message about climate change, especially for COP23, is that, to reduce emissions of CO2 around the world, every country must work with their governments to determine how to implement the emission reduction goals. We must work with students in schools, with ministers, with the government and with the countries like the USA, China and India that make the most emissions. Our message in Lebanon is that the world is not for us – we get it from our ancestors to give to our children.

 

Tika Dhoj Bhandari, Nepali Greens International Secretary: 

I think sometimes we ignore what is going on around us and blame other countries or politicians for not doing the right thing. Instead, we should think how we as individuals can support the reduction in climate change and how we can improve our surroundings. We need to talk to everyone about their responsibilities, because many people are unaware of how their activities affect global warming. People should know about how the overuse of resources and energy affects climate change.

 

Clare Calascione, Bristol Green Party: 

I think that, rather than talking about what is predicted to happen, we should tell people human stories about what is happening now. Stories that have moved me I would hope would move other people too, like the story of Lake Chad, which used to be the size of a sea but has receded, meaning people that depend on the lake have to walk 30 kilometres or more to get their food and water. Or the European story of reindeer herders in Lapland, who can no longer depend on rivers being frozen at certain times of year so they can cross with their herds, as they have done for thousands of years.