Hundreds of MPs flocked to collect trees in their name outside Parliament as part of a call by environmentalists for a radical reforestation of the UK.
Politicians from all political parties turned up to collect their tree, including former Labour leader Ed Miliband, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Tory Minister Zac Goldsmith and former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron. Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent for his tree to be collected by his parliamentary private secretary James Heappey MP.
The fledging forest of trees was created by Extinction Rebellion as part of their International Rebellion, which began on 7 October in central London. The protests have seen more than 30,000 people take to the streets to protest about the lack of action on the climate and ecological emergency. The event in Westminster saw organisers call for the UK to plant billions of trees to help tackle the crisis.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said:
This initiative with the trees is perfect, because what better way to reach the hearts of some MPs who are not yet perhaps as engaged as they might be. So congratulations to you for that, and for everything you’re doing outside Westminster right now – it’s really making an impact.
MPs later took to Twitter where hundreds of pictures and supportive tweets were shared with the hashtag #ReforestEarth: the most popular hashtag used by Conservative MPs that day.
Government minister Zac Goldsmith MP tweeted:
Planting & protecting trees here & overseas – on a much, much bigger scale is a critically important part of tackling the environment and climate crisis.
Scientists claim that tree planting is one of the most effective ways to tackle climate change as they are able to absorb global emissions. Extinction Rebellion claims the UK is one of the most deforested countries in Europe and that the government’s target of 11 million new trees by 2022 falls short of making a tangible difference.
Organisers say that tree which weren’t collected by politicians were taken by Bristol-based reforesting company Rising Forests for planting in the West Country, and that all pots will be reused.