From cheaper public transport to better insulation in your home, there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint. But how can you have a say on the most effective solutions decided at European level? The Climate Pact’s Peer Parliaments offer you the opportunity to discuss your climate ideas in small groups and share them with the EU’s policymakers. Interested?
Let’s start with the basics – what is a Peer Parliament?
“We’re not imposing solutions. Climate change concerns all of our lives – that is why we need to discuss it together.”
- Elina Bardram, Director at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action
Debating solutions together is exactly the idea behind Peer Parliaments, a Europe-wide initiative to get friends, family, neighbours and colleagues talking about climate-related topics, ranging from transport and food to energy.
By discussing these issues with your network from the perspective of your everyday life, you can help policymakers design the right solutions. And the EU, in turn, can only propose policies that will work for people and for the planet if it listens to the views of those whose lives are affected by them.
What’s the objective?
For Netherlands-based Climate Pact Ambassador Sofia Teles, a Peer Parliament is more than just a debate – it’s a way to influence the future of European climate policy. “When I am talking to my family and friends about the climate, I get frustrated that the debate tends to centre on individual action,” she says. “With a Peer Parliament, there is an opportunity to combine our thoughts on individual change and policy change in a way that will have a real impact.”
Sofia has already hosted two debates – one with a younger group of people and another with an older group – and was surprised by their differences in opinion. “In both groups, we focused on travel. When we discussed train travel, the younger group suggested that we should be allowed more time off to travel longer distances by train for holidays,” she says. “The older people had more time available, but for them pricing and reliability were key to making trains a viable alternative to flying.”
Vanessa Archontidou, Greek Climate Pact Ambassador and mountain climber, has signed up to host her first Peer Parliament soon. For Vanessa, Peer Parliaments can help citizens understand climate change and feel included in solving the problem. “Peer Parliaments create opportunities to hear the voices of people who need to be heard. When people feel they are being listened to, they are motivated and inspired to take part in climate action.”
Where can I host my own Peer Parliament?
In short – wherever you want! You can choose to gather virtually, in a café, in your local park or in your living room. Just make sure group feels comfortable.
You can also be more creative. Vanessa, for example, will be hosting a Peer Parliament in a rather unusual location:
We are a group of five people going to the Union Glacier Camp in Antarctica. We will either hold a Peer Parliament there, or at the South Pole.
Vanessa chose this location since Antarctica is the continent that is the most affected by climate change. By discussing the key issues there, she hopes to raise awareness about the crisis.
“Our team comes from all over the world including the US, Russia and Europe. We haven’t yet met – getting to know each other will be part of the challenge,” she says, adding that the expedition will take place from 2 December to 2 January 2021.
I’m in – but how should I host and run a debate?
Sofia: “My advice is: do not assume that people feel or think a certain way about climate action topics – you will always be amazed to discover something new!”
Vanessa: “I encourage people to be very open when hosting a Peer Parliament. Speak about your climate-related emotions, and ideas will flow.”
If you’re inspired to organise your own Peer Parliament and influence the future of European climate policymaking, register as a host and we’ll provide more information.
- Publication date
- 26 November 2021