It won’t have escaped anyone’s notice that there is a general election on July 4. This election, more than those before, is an important opportunity to cast your vote according to which party promises to do the best by our environment by having clear actions to reduce climate change and biodiversity loss.

Climate Action Stokesley & Villages is politically non aligned and we are supported by voters who have a range of political ideologies but who put concerns about climate breakdown and biodiversity loss above their political allegiances.

Research shows more than 70 per cent of voters say concerns about climate and biodiversity will influence their vote. Climate and biodiversity are also strongly linked to voters’ other priorities. According to YouGov, the single most important issue in deciding how to vote will be the cost of living at 26 per cent with three subsequent issues closely tied: immigration 18 per cent, the economy in general 16 per cent, and health 14 per cent.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

All these issues are significantly affected by climate breakdown and biodiversity loss. The cost of food has risen sharply as weather systems have become more unstable and loss of pollinators is causing crops to fail. According to the Grantham Institute, the total cost of climate change damages to the UK economy is already 1.1 per cent of GDP, or nearly £500 per person, and predicted to treble by 2050. There are strong economic reasons for the drive to net-zero, as the economic benefits from mitigation will actually exceed the costs in coming decades.

As climate breakdown is affecting poorer populations in the global south more severely than in the more developed global north, this is leading to greater displacement of peoples which will increase immigration to the UK.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

In terms of health, the impacts of climate change on death and illness rates from less extreme winters will be overshadowed by heat impacts across the country. With current climate policies the death rate will increase by 7.1 deaths annually per 100,000 people over the coming years.

So climate breakdown and biodiversity loss must drive your voting choice in July. As all parties say their policies are guided by their electorate’s priorities, it’s important that you let your local candidates know by emailing them, by telling them on your doorstep, or by attending a hustings on the environment like the pre-election climate meeting at Osmotherley Village Hall on Friday, June 14, at 7.30pm, to which all local candidates have been invited.

To help you make informed choices, organisations have rated current party policies and will rate party manifestos when published to highlight their impacts on climate change and biodiversity.

Friends of the Earth (FOE) have carried out an immediate ranking of where the main parties stand on climate, energy, nature and the environment, their strengths and weaknesses. FOE will use this to encourage the parties to strengthen the areas where policy is weak or lacking, and to firm up areas where they’re strong. You can see the current review on FOE website.

In order to persuade politicians of all parties to take the issue seriously we need to highlight to them the numbers of people speaking up for climate action. Please make the right choice for the environment when you vote on July 4.