The Time is Now: You showed you care about the climate crisis

26 June 2019

On 26 June we spoke up and told the UK government that enough is enough. We showed up to central London, united, to say that, as people of faith, we are determined to act for our common home and that this climate crisis is not the legacy we want to leave for our grandchildren. This is not the future we want.

An estimated 12,000 people took to the streets around Westminster to lobby their MPs to call for further, faster action on climate change and environmental protection. With over 300 MPs coming out to meet their constituents we know our voices have been heard.

Perhaps most inspiring were the pupils from primary and secondary schools. Travelling from all over the country to talk to their MPs and have their say on climate change, they're aware we all need to make changes to make a better world. 

Watch interviews with some of our young campaigners on BBC Newsround

Working together to tackle the crisis

The Time is Now saw a coming together of people from all faiths and walks of life. The day began with interfaith workshops spanning issues from across the climate and environment spectrum.

Faith leaders from all major religions – including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Qari Asim MBE, Chair of the Mosques and Imams Advisory Board, Vishvapani, Buddhist teacher and Radio 4 Thought for the Day contributor, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, leader of Masorti Judaism in the UK, and Christine Allen, CAFOD Director – joined together on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Faith leaders hold a Time is Now banner on the steps of St Martin in the Fields

The Walk of Witness

From St Martin-in-the-Fields we crossed to Trafalgar Square and walked en masse to Whitehall to show we have a shared hope and a common aim. People held banners, took up chants and  started the day off with so much energy and enthusiasm!

Supporters hold The Time is Now placards on the Walk of Witness

Some quotes from the day

Kevin Haigh, from the north-east, travelled down to take part in The Time is Now. He is a long-time CAFOD supporter and is no stranger to lobbying his MP. Here are his thoughts on why we need to take urgent climate action:

"It's nearly too late. We need to act, it's got to be now. In 15-20 years it will be too late - I need to think of my grandchildren and what's in front of them.

"Don't hesitate to contact your MP. Ask hard questions and beg them to get something done. We're running out of time."

Kevin Haigh from the North East of England stands with a protest hat on for the Time is Now lobby

Kevin Haigh from the north-east is a long-time CAFOD supporter and was keen to discuss the climate crisis with his MP.

Tamara from Enfield works for the NHS. She's campaigned before but never on climate change. Now she wants to persuade MPs to take urgent action before it's too late.

Tamara, a CAFOD supporter is campaigning against climate change for the first time

Tamara from Enfield is campaigning for action on climate change for the first time

"If we don't start somewhere we'll never hit net zero by 2045 or even 2050. We need to start making changes now. I think the more of us are involved the better. I'm doing it for my child – I want to leave a good world for them."

The pupils of the Sacred Heart Primary School in Wandsworth dressed as Zero Heroes and spoke to us about how climate change is affecting them.

"Putney High Street is one of the most polluted places in England. We should have more roads where cars aren't allowed to make this better. Climate change is bad for us and the whole world. Sometimes people listen more to children than grown ups. Every child has the right to be respected.

"If we come together as a big group we might be able to stop climate change."

Pupils from Sacred Heart Wandsworth dressed as Zero Heroes for The Time is Now lobby

Pupils from Sacred Heart Wandsworth dressed as Zero Heroes for The Time is Now lobby

The lobby queue

Walking around the lobby queue there was a real sense of excitement and expectation. People were clearly prepped to talk passionately to their MP and demand action. There was a sea of placards with slogans about combating climate change: "Keep the planet cool", "There is no planet B" and, a personal favourite, "More masses, less gasses".

Many organisations were represented among the crowds: WWF, Christian Aid, the Wildlife Trust, Islamic Relief, Friends of the Earth and the list goes on! At 2pm alarms went off all along the queue with over 12,000 people making a noise about climate change. Alongside alarms a cheer went up and chants of "The Time is Now" could be heard!

MPs in a rickshaw at the Time is Now

MPs in their rickshaw, travelling to talk to their constituents at The Time is Now.

As MPs arrived on rickshaws people gathered more tightly in their constituency areas, listening closely to each other's questions and what their MPs had to say. As the MPs all arrived at different times there were also those reflecting on what their MP had said to them, as well as those checking their watches to figure out how late their MP was.

MP for Ipswich talking to his constituents.

Sandy Martin, MP for Ipswich and Shadow Minister for Waste and Recycling, talking to constituents at The Time is Now

A mass to end the day

After everyone had queued to speak to their MPs, after the 2 o'clock alarm moment, after all the chants, amazing placards and buzz of enthusiasm in the air, many of us made our way to mass to end the day. We came together to celebrate our common home and the gift of creation.

Supporters gather for mass celebrating our common home

Supporters gather for mass celebrating our common home

Inspired by the quotes and photos from the day? Keep an eye out for further news stories as well as tweets and Facebook posts. If you were here with us please share your thoughts and photos using the hashtag #thetimeisnow.

Couldn't make the day?

We know not everyone could join us in Westminster on the day. If you want your MP to know your concerns about climate change, why not write to them? You can use our net zero MP briefing to help draft your letter or email and include this booklet for them to learn more about climate change and the environment.

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