Activist to British Prime Minister, Can You Hear Me Now?

Youth activist Iris Andrews gets a commitment on climate change from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, first-hand, on her cell phone.

Posted by Madeline Ostrander at Sep 21, 2009 06:05 PM |
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Activist to British Prime Minister, Can You Hear Me Now?

After setting their cell phone alarm clocks to 12:18 p.m., a flash mob in Parliament square in London called Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Secretary of State David Miliband.

If you've ever called the U.S. Capitol switchboard or the mayor's office to register a complaint, you probably didn't expect to hear from the big honcho politician directly. But this morning when Iris Andrews phoned up Parliament to express her opinions on climate change, she got British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the other end of the line. Today, Brown announced his intentions to attend the United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December, both in his call to Andrews and in an article published in Newsweek.

The call itself contains an inspiring message: It's carried by the elation on Andrews' face and by Brown's response. (You can watch the video below.) Climate activism is making a difference. In the U.K., politicans and the press are taking climate activists seriously. "I think the pressure that can be brought to bear by organizations like yourselves campaigning on this is going to be very important," Brown told Andrews. "If we can inspire a new generation of people to take an interest in climate change and then change the way the world works, then sometimes what people think is impossible can become possible and happen."

Andrews called Brown from London's Parliament Square as part of a "Global Wake-Up Call," a series of more than 2,000 events, held in 128 countries, and organized by the international climate activist groups Avaaz and tcktcktck. You can view a slideshow of photos from other events on our website. Callers targeted politicians and world leaders traveling to international political meetings this week: a day-long U.N. Climate Summit to be held in New York City on Tuesday, and the Group of 20 meeting in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday.

Brown's announcement ups the pressure on other political leaders (Barack Obama, for instance) to join him at the Copenhagen meetings. Many environmentalists see the Copenhagen meetings as the world's last, best chance to reach international agreement on climate change. 



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