Bright Green: The crisis of the 21st century needs Green politics

Read the article on Bright Green


Greece on fire. California is in drought. London tube stations flooded, New York and Zhengzhou too. Floods killing thousands in Niger. Extreme heat in Algeria.

We are confronted by the reality of extreme weather daily. But the media isn’t making the links between these events and the climate emergency. Governments in industrialised nations do not face enough consequences to act. 

The need for Green politics has never been clearer. We’re running to be Green Party co-leaders because we need a successful Green Party in England and Wales. We need to pressure this government to act, and right now the opposition hasn’t managed that. 

We look to Scotland where an ambitious climate deal has been secured, because of a successful Scottish Green Party now on the cusp of going into government. Sweden ranks atop the Climate Change Performance Index, and has had Greens in government for years. And in New Zealand it is the Greens who have pushed Jacinda Ardern into more ambitious targets. There is a clear correlation between climate action and successful Greens.

It shouldn’t be a surprise. The rise of socialist and social democratic parties won workers rights and social welfare across the early 20th Century. Liberal parties before that began winning the tenets of liberal democracy. In the wake of our current environmental crisis we firmly believe it is Green Parties who are best placed to address the social and ecological crises we face today. 

We must be clear. We live in a time of crisis for people and the planet. Solutions must address climate and social injustice. We must understand that the Global North owes a huge debt to the Global South, who are facing some of the harshest climate and ecological consequences. We cannot balance our green recovery on the back of the world’s poorest. And we must recognise that the growing threats to biodiversity and natural habitats around the world are bringing about a mass extinction that could threaten some of our core life support systems.

We’re proud of Green Party policies. They are a thought-through suite of proposals that will deliver climate action. From a comprehensive Green New Deal in energy, infrastructure, food and housing, to ecological restoration, to an active travel revolution to rebuilding the international aid budget. We need strong Green leadership to ensure these ideas are clearly communicated – starting at COP26 in a few weeks.

First Past the Post is a cruel electoral system and is certainly part of the reason why Labour and the Tories hold a fierce grip on politics. But the Green Party is getting increasingly better at electoral politics, with more and more voters backing us at each election. From winning our first MP in 2010 to the exponential growth in our Councillor numbers in the last three years. And polling has us frequently in third place across England.

This gives the party the opportunity to put powerful Green ideas at the centre of political debate. And we won’t stop there. With the climate and ecological emergency rising to the top of people’s concerns in opinion polls, politics in the future does not need to look like it did in the past. 

We believe there can be a seismic change, one that would put Green politics where it needs to be, at the cusp of government. As co-leaders we’ll have a plan on how to get there. This involves a clear, well-resourced long term strategy to deliver a big increase in the number of Green MPs, starting with Carla Denyer being elected as our second Green MP in Bristol. And the ambition should be Greens in government, delivering on our values and winning voters over. Like the grown up and mature coalition democracies we see in Europe.

If our message strikes a chord and you are a member of the Green Party, please vote for us in the leadership election. Voting closes on 23rd September, 10pm.

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