UK Green Party surges in membership

From Nest thermostats to cargo bikes, TreeHugger's primary focus is and always has been design-oriented lifestyle content in the pursuit of a sustainable future.

There's a good reason for that.

As sustainable design increasingly permeates mainstream culture, it can have a huge impact on energy and resource use. But our lifestyles aren't just made up of the things we use, buy and make. They're also made up of what we do. And one of the things we (or at least many of us!) do is vote.

So it's interesting to see that the UK—a country whose electoral politics has been dominated by the Conservative and Labour parties for decades—is seeing a huge surge in membership for The Green Party, with at least one recent national opinion poll suggesting this membership gain is translating into a previously unheard of percentage of 11% of the vote. Indeed, with 47,000 members between the Green Parties of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Green Party's combined membership makes it the third largest UK-wide political party, beaten only by Labour and The Conservatives.

As I mention above, this is a lifestyle and design focused website, and our audience is mostly outside of the UK, so I won't go too deep into the politics—suffice to say that a growing number of voters are disaffected with the two main parties, disappointed in the traditionally green-minded Liberal Democrats (who have been in a ruling coalition with the Conservatives), and concerned about the rise of the right-wing, anti-immigration, anti-wind farm, climate skeptic UK Independence Party. Ironically, The Green Party has also benefitted from public outcry at their exclusion from televised debates. (Sound familiar?)

All of that detail is probably less important to our larger audience than the simple explanation of what this surge represents: namely, if the political status quo fails to address the growing threats of climate change, biodiversity loss and resource depletion, then an increasing number of people will conclude that they need to seek an alternative.

From the China-US climate pact to bipartisan calls to raise the gas tax, there are growing signs from the establishment that this realization is dawning. But will it dawn fast enough?

I doubt we'll see the Green Party in government any time soon, but from renewable energy subsidies to sustainable farming policies, this Green surge will put pressure on the larger parties to sure up their green claims and get serious about healing our environment. Indeed, Labour leader Ed Miliband has already come out pledging that climate action will be at the heart of his party's agenda.

And that can only be a good thing, whoever you vote for.

But that's enough party politics for now. I'll get back to cleaner, more wholesome topics in the very near future. (The latest in pee and poop might be a good place to start.)

Tags: Activism | Global Climate Change

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK

treehugger slideshows