Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has joined a host of Britain’s most well-known public figures to call on the UK government to do more to tackle the four biggest crises facing the world: the COVID-19 pandemic, inequality, climate change, and the nature crisis.
She joins singer and philanthropist Annie Lennox, cleric Desmond Tutu, and comedian Sir Lenny Henry who are among those that have signed an open letter calling on the public to join a new campaign called “Wave of Hope” and continue the “solidarity and kindness” seen during the height of the COVID-19 national lockdowns.
“From campaigning for free school meals, to volunteering for the vaccine rollout, to keeping an eye out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours, each act of kindness has been an inspiration to others that has rippled through our communities, spreading a wave of hope across our nations and the world,” says the letter, published in full in the Mirror newspaper.
“These actions help prove that though ‘charity begins at home’, it doesn’t end there,” it continues.
“We believe people in the UK can use the spirit of togetherness that has been helping us through the COVID-19 crisis to now tackle COVID-19 globally and help crack the crises also of climate, equality, and nature,” the letter states.
Organised and backed by a coalition of more than 70 UK charities called “Crack the Crises”, representing 12 million supporters, including Global Citizen, Action Aid, and Action Against Hunger, the letter highlights Britain’s important international leadership role during 2021, as the government will host the G7 summit, and the COP26 climate conference.
Children are facing a triple threat: a climate emergency, injustice and Covid19.— Save the Children UK (@savechildrenuk) May 27, 2021
At the G7 summit the Prime Minister has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to crack these crises.
Join thousands of people in the #WaveOfHope to #crackthecrises for children ⤵️https://t.co/f8waHvQtJVpic.twitter.com/75HhEqXm44
The G7 summit will bring together the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US, in Cornwall on June 11. Then in November, world leaders will descend on Glasgow for the United Nations’ annual climate summit, COP26, where crucial international decisions will be made around the reduction of carbon emissions.
The overall objective of the “Crack the Crises” coalition focuses on using this moment of pandemic recovery to combat the most pressing issues surrounding poverty, inequality, and the environment.
Its open letter goes on to say that as the UK slowly recovers from the pandemic and businesses start to reopen, “we can do better than go back to normal.”
The “Crack the Crisis” campaign calls for “a world where there are vaccines for all, because none of us are safe until all of us are safe. A world where we have stopped catastrophic climate change, and delivered a great green jobs revolution. A world where we share in a fairer society for everyone.”
During the G7 summit, “the eyes of the world will be on Britain,” the letter continues. “This gives everyone a chance to tell Joe Biden, Angela Merkel, and Boris Johnson, as well as the leaders of Canada, France, Japan and Italy, what kind of world we all want.”
In addition to a series of policy demands, the signatories are calling on the public to back the campaign by creating a “wave of hope” by hanging illustratrations of waving hands in their window.
Kirsty McNeill, Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children UK, and spokesperson for Crack the Crises, said: “Crack the Crises wants leaders at G7 to commit to delivering vaccines and health care for all, fighting poverty and injustice, and ending the climate and nature crises."
"This means ensuring the fair distribution of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, offering universal health coverage, and adequate pay and protection for health care workers," she added. "It means empowering people and giving them access to healthy food, clean water, a home, and an education. It means tackling climate change now, and putting nature into recovery to build a healthier planet."