Your Chance

October 6, 2008

Today, Avaaz sent out an email, you may have got it too.

What they have achieved is testament to the idea that the real power in politics belongs to the people. 10 individuals run Avaaz, just 10 – and yet they can leverage hundreds of thousands of people to take one action to push for change.

Tomorrow, on Tuesday afternoon, our elected representatives in the European Parliament are writing a climate and energy plan for our continent.

The whole plan is being undermined by industry lobbyists demanding they put in massive and long-term “permits to pollute”. This means that our emissions targets are completely out of reach for 2020 and beyond. Before it’s too late, in the next 24 hours, let’s flood representatives with emails and phone calls – urging them to be strong, and not give in to the lobbyists. They can put forward better plans to build a sustainable future for our societies, showing the world the way forward.

What we’re all going to do;

1. Call the office of the Members of the European Parliament at the bottom of this post – Martin and Caroline, who are both Conservatives. As your representatives, they have to listen to you.

2. Ask to speak to someone about the climate and energy package, or leave a short message with whoever answers the phone.

3. Say your name, that you’re from the UK, and that you’re calling them because they are on the Environment Committee. Then say that you’re worried that the climate and energy package is very dangerous for our future, and that Martin/Caroline needs to vote for the strongest measures possible this week.

4. The most important point to get across, because it’s both crucial and hanging in the balance, is this:

Europe should not hand out free permits to pollute after 2013.

If you have a chance, here are some other points worth emphasising:

* The cuts we promise to make must be made in Europe. We cannot buy ourselves out of this problem. The world will fail to avert climate catastrophe unless Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions fall dramatically: offsets are not enough.

* Stop dirty coal-fired power stations. Coal is currently one of the dirtiest sources of energy – we can’t meet our targets if we build more dirty coal-fired power stations.

* Invest in a clean-technology future! Let us make the renewables sector the new space race.

Here are the two people we’re going to call, and leave a comment to say how it went!

Martin Callanan
0032 228 45701

Caroline Jackson
0032 228 45255


7 Responses to “Your Chance”

  1. Martin Callanan MEP said

    By inundating my office with phone calls and emails (hardly any of which are constituents of mine)you are doing nothing to advance your cause. I am well aware of the arguments on both sides and, frankly, sending 500 more emails all saying essentially the same thing just wastes the time of my staff and cloggs up the EP computer system. By all means write if you are a Constituent from North East England. Otherwise please do some basic research and write to your own MEP.

  2. cterkuile said

    Dear Mr Callanan MEP,

    Thank you for your response – I’m impressed my little blog appeared on your radar!

    I am, of course, well aware of the constituent system and have indeed contacted each of my regional MEPs. As I emphasised in my blog post, it is your role role on the Environment Committee that mandates public pressure on elected officials.

    I understand the additional stretch this places on your office resources, but it is my belief that democratic involvement is only to be applauded.

    Surely if Industry lobbyists speak to members of the Committee, the general public must be encouraged to so too?

    Many thanks for responding, I appreciate your taking the time to reply,

    Casper ter Kuile

  3. Tobias Lintonhurst said

    I live in the North East and quite frankly I’m appalled at my MEP’s fragrant disregard for democractic involvement. I shan’t be voting for him again.



  4. cterkuile said

    On behalf of Martin Callanan:

    It’s amazing what ‘Google alerts’ can do. Seriously though, I can tell you quite honestly that, after being on the receiving end of a number of these campaigns, you will actually damage your cause. We become extremely irritated at receiving hundreds (sometimes thousands) of emails saying the same thing. It is completely pointless!

    We are also receiving lots of phone calls, which is just stopping my staff getting on with any work on behalf of the people I represent in the North East. You are only succeeding in incurring large international rate phone bills for all of your supporters. It is not going to change anyone’s opinion as we are all very well aware of points on both sides.


  5. cterkuile said


    I guess that from the perspective of community organisers, these ‘mass actions’ are about empowering citizens with some information and contact details to take action on something they care about, in a democratic system that doesn’t always make itself easy to understand.

    Many MPs and MEPs have mentioned to me how postcard actions and emails actually encourage them to vote against what the actions encourage them to do. I find this perplexing. Granted, the action is lazy, but the reason behind it is still valid.

    If citizens contacting their representatives is ‘pointless’, I do wonder how people are supposed to feel that our current state of politics is there to do our bidding.

    Many thanks again, and I look forward to the Committee proposing actions on the Package that follow what science demands.

    All the best,


  6. cterkuile said

    On behalf of Martin Callanan:

    But I am not a representative for the vast majority of callers/mailers, who live nowhere near North East England!

  7. cterkuile said

    Sure, but you are on the Environment Committee who lead on the Climate and Energy Package, which effects all of us.

    I would go back to my point about equality of access for lobbyists from Big Industry. Indeed, as citizens, we do not have the kinds of resources and numbers of people on the ground to press our position.

    Either way, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, I look forward to the Committee’s decision tomorrow.


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