Together, we are irresistible. Let's make law.
Posted by Oisín Coghlan on July 13, 2018 at 02:06 PM
When we formed the Stop Climate Chaos coalition 10 years ago, our first slogan was "Together, we are irresistible". To be honest with you, I thought it was a bit over-the-top for climate campaigners.
This week showed how wrong I was.
This week's big wins underline the value our work coordinating the Stop Climate Chaos coalition - work we want to be able to continue, but which is now at risk.
- On Tuesday, an Oireachtas committee discussed with expert witnesses the Climate Emergency Bill, to ban offshore oil and gas drilling that has been spearheaded by grassroots group Not Here Not Anywhere, a close ally of ours that we strive to support. It was clear from the exchange that a majority of our TDs understand Ireland’s future is fossil fuel free and that the time to start building that future is now. Despite Government resistance, the Bill has a real chance of becoming law, but we need to keep the pressure on, otherwise this bill risks being killed by vested interests.
- Also on Tuesday, we helped boost a petition of Not Here Not Anywhere's by 1000 signatures in just 24 hours, and the group presented the petition to the Chair of the Committee on Climate Action after the hearings .
- Wednesday saw the first meeting of a new all-party Committee on Climate Action to consider the report of the Citizens' Assembly on climate change. Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) played a key role in pushing for the formation of this Committee, and now the political system has decided to treat the Assembly's recommendations on climate with the same respect and rigour they treated its recommendations on the 8th amendment .
- And just yesterday, the Dáil passed an historic law to pull all of Ireland's public investments out of fossil fuels, becoming the first state in the world to make that commitment and divest from fossil fuels . This momentous campaign was lead by SCC member Trócaire, with the support of the Coalition as a whole.
These successes do not just happen. They are the culmination of the collective campaigning of many, many committed people and coordinated actions, over a number of years. Supporters, staff, SCC member organisations, volunteers - a network that requires support, coordination, time and commitment in order to ensure that the sum is greater than the component parts. And that's where we come in: facilitating connections between small and large organisations, from Fossil Free TCD & Young Friends of the Earth to Concern Worldwide and Trócaire, each building up the next to create a powerful climate movement across Ireland.
Since Stop Climate Chaos was formed, Friends of the Earth has dedicated staff time to coordinating the Coalition's campaigning work, paid for by SCC members and supporters.
Together, we have pressed politicians to respond to the climate challenge, marshalled evidence, changed minds, and given voice to the public appetite for climate action that the Citizens' Assembly so comprehensively confirmed recently.
Stop Climate Chaos supporters have created a seismic shift in the political system. Earlier this year Taoiseach Leo Varadkar used our language in admitting to the European Parliament that Ireland is a "laggard" on climate change and he isn't proud of our record. And listening to our politicians in recent debates you get the sense they know Ireland has run out of excuses and the focus now has to be on action.
Now we have momentum, there is so much more we can do together:
- Make sure the Government's plans for renewable electricity enable community ownership and kick-start a solar rooftop-revolution.
- Get the Climate Emergency Bill into law banning new offshore exploration for fossil gas we can't afford to burn.
- Champion the common-sense, far-reaching proposals of the Citizens Assembly as the all-party committee considers them and the political parties write their manifestos for the upcoming general election.
The Coalition has stretched every sinew, and every euro, over the last couple of years to achieve our recent successes. We campaign on a shoestring, driven my the passion and commitment of the members. But some of our staff time is essential, to make connections, coordinate actions and oil the wheels of the coalition, if you'll pardon the pun.
And we're running short of money. We're down to one day a week of Meaghan's time on organizing, mobilizing and communications, and one day a week of Jerry's time on policy, research, and lobbying.
And that's just not enough to make the most of the opportunities we now have.
The law of momentum states that an object in motion will stay in motion unless it meets a resistant force. We’ve pushed through the resistance of well-funded special interests for ten years thanks to supporters like you. Now we need a helping hand or we could run out of steam.
We need to raise €5,000 to make sure we can step up the campaigning pressure in the Autumn.
- If 500 of us can give €10, we'll make it.
- If 200 of us can give €25, we'll make it.
- If 100 of us can give €50, we'll make it.
- If 50 of us can give €100, we'll make it.
- Or if you happen to be the one person who can give €5,000 then we can turn our attention straight back to the campaigning work that brings us all together.
We have achieved so much together. Now we need you now more than ever. Your support proves that, together, we really are irresistible.