High-profile parents urge PM to place children at the centre of green recovery in open letter


Over 100 high-profile parents from fashion designer Vivienne Westwood to Lead of Climate Assembly UK Professor Rebecca Willis, urged Britain’s government on Sunday to ensure economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic tackles climate change and puts children at its centre.

Written by climate group Mothers Rise Up, which began when a small group of concerned mothers met at Extinction Rebellion rally in 2018, the open letter urges Boris Johnson not to ‘build our way out of one disaster by super-charging the next.’

The letter states: “If climate emissions are allowed to rebound to pre-pandemic levels the consequences for our children’s lives and livelihoods will be catastrophic – and it is children from the poorest and most disadvantaged communities here in the UK, and across the globe, who will be hardest hit.

“Put simply, we cannot afford to slide back into fossil fuelled business as usual.

“Across the UK there is a huge appetite for change with one poll suggesting just nine percent of people want to go back to how things were.

“We need to build back better economies which put the well-being of all people and the planet first.

“The good news, as you know, is there does not have to be a trade-off between creating jobs now and building a fairer, safer world for all our children.

“Investing in a low carbon recovery will create more and better jobs, now and in the future, than can be achieved rebuilding an outdated fossil fuel economy.

“Millions more decent jobs could be rapidly created across the UK through a nationwide programme of insulating homes, installing electric vehicle charging  points, re-establishing woodlands, and boosting the roll out of renewable energies.

“A green and just economic recovery can also lock in the silver linings of lock down that people want to hold onto for themselves and their children.

“The healthier lifestyles that come with cleaner air, safer streets, and a renaissance in cycling and walking, the connections we have made within our local communities, and the re-emergence of nature in our towns and cities.

“As economists, business leaders, scientists, actors, faith and belief leaders, charity leaders, trade unionists and educators and above all as parents, we are committed to playing our part.

“But we need your leadership to spearhead the changes that are needed.

“We need a commitment that public money will not be used to bail out high carbon industries, but invested in building a thriving, fair and low carbon economy that will put the UK at the forefront of a post COVID-19 recovery.

“This brutal pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to rethink and reset.

“To pull back from the dangerous fossil fuelled charge towards climate disaster and move – full speed ahead – to a brighter new tomorrow for all.

“For the sake of all our children, please don’t waste it.”