Salad Bar Blog

How runners can speak out in a year of elections

by Martin Elcoate

A group of green runners in front of Big Ben in London campaigning for greater action of the climate emergency. They are holding banners reading 'We can't run away from this'

The Green Runners say now is the time to speak out and let politicians know that the climate needs to be at the top of the agenda.

Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Uruguay, United States of America, India, Pakistan, United Kingdom – these are just some of the countries with general elections in 2024. And that’s without listing local elections, presidential elections and more. To put it another way, wherever you live, someone will want your vote.

Whatever your political persuasion or beliefs regarding the political landscape, I believe how we use our voice matters. Those intending to represent us need to know we stand for greater climate protections, and demand change in how we move, how we kit up and how we eat.

It’s easier to change the political agenda before the ink dries on the party manifestos, than influence a Government once elected. If it’s not too late in your area, write to the parties and let them know your priorities. If it’s too late to influence manifestos then help build a coalition for change by speaking up for the climate.

As Green Runners we have the opportunity in 2024 to take action in line with our #HowWeSpeakOut Pillar and leave political parties in no doubt that we demand a real green agenda and call out political green-washing where we see it.

Make your message personal, passionate, factual. Make it clear that you stand with others, a community of over 1,000 runners who share the same goals (oh! And reference other relevant organisations you support – for me that means the Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust, Royal Society for Protection of Birds etc.). I’ve included my email to the political parties at the end of this blog in case it helps you draft your message.

Make your voice heard on the streets, on the doorstep, in writing and on social media, sharing content you believe stands for a better, cleaner, fairer world. Together let’s put climate at the top of the political agenda.

Here are some ideas for a green manifesto aligned with our Pillars

#HowWeMove – Invest in our cities and towns to prioritise pedestrian and cycling routes; reduce public transport costs, electrify the public transport system; reinstate the phasing out of new petrol & diesel cars & vans by 2030; end airport expansion; ban short haul flights (or increase taxation so as to nudge people back to rail); increase financial disincentives for large private vehicles such as SUVs.

#HowWeKitUp – Enforce a circular economy within the clothing and shoe industry to reduce waste and extend product life; introduce product health warnings related to emissions and fair wages & working conditions for those producing the products.

#HowWeEat – Set a legal target to reduce meat and dairy consumption; set a legal target to end single-use packaging; increase the size of Marine Protected Areas and ban all industrial fishing in those areas; regulate against polluting salmon farms.

For more ideas and more detailed information, take a look at Greenpeace’s minimum standard for election manifestos:

How to win votes: manifesto recommendations for a greener, fairer society | Greenpeace UK

United Kingdom Resources

First – make sure you are registered to vote wherever you are.

In the UK, you can register here.

Contact information for the national parties

Labour Party

Conservative Party

Green Party

Liberal Democrats

Scottish National Party

Plaid Cymru

Information about UK constituencies and MPs: VoteClimate: Find Your Constituency

Resources about what to do and say

Tips on how to write to your MP or meet them in person: Contact your MP | The Wildlife Trusts

Posters to the main parties about no new oil No New Oil & Gas Posters | Download, Print, Post


Martin is a recreational runner living in Devon, UK. He runs to explore his local area, enjoying long days out in the Devon hills. Martin works behind the scenes for The Green Runners on campaigns, social media and promoting ways in which we can make a difference in the face of the climate emergency. His pledges include continuing not to eat red meat, speaking up to promote The Green Runners & calling for action in relation to the climate emergency


Example email to the political parties

I am writing to you because I believe it is important that the Government and Members of Parliament should represent the views of the electorate. That’s why I’ve taken the time to set out here what matters for me when it comes to UK Government policy.

There is one central issue that concerns me most of all and I believe it needs to be at the top of every political agenda – the climate emergency. We are already witnessing the impact of climate breakdown on health, prosperity, nature, prices of commodities, migration and more. Climate breakdown will impact all of us in many ways. I can reuse and recycle as much as possible but without significant change from Government and Corporations my efforts will come to nothing. I don’t need to convince you of the reality of the climate emergency. We should be taking that as fact by now.

I support many organisations that champion the need to take urgent action for a green future, including the Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. There are millions of people that share similar views to mine.

I’m also an active member of The Green Runners, a community of over 1,000 people making changes for a fitter and greener planet. As Green Runners we express our individual actions aligned to pillars. I’ve used those pillars here to explain what steps I believe should be taken as part of a green political agenda.

#HowWeMove – Invest in our cities and towns to priortise pedestrian & cycling routes; reduce public transport costs, electrify the public transport system; reinstate the phasing out of new petrol & diesel cars & vans by 2030; end airport expansion; ban short haul flights (or increase taxation so as to nudge people back to rail); increase financial disincentives for large private vehicles such as SUVs.

#HowWeKitUp – Enforce a circular economy within the clothing and shoe industry to reduce waste and extend product life; introduce product health warnings related to emissions and fair wages & working conditions for those producing the products.

#HowWeEat – Set a legal target to reduce meat & dairy consumption; set a legal target to end single-use packaging; increase the size of Marine Protected Areas and ban all industrial fishing in those areas; regulate against polluting salmon farms.

These actions are by no means exhaustive. I encourage you to take a look at Greenpeace’s excellent and detailed minimum standard for election manifestos;

How to win votes: manifesto recommendations for a greener, fairer society | Greenpeace UK

My ask of you is that you put the climate emergency at the top of the political agenda and put in place real and tangible measures that will bring us to net zero as soon as possible. If you agree but are worried that the electorate may not support the significant changes that are required (an argument put to me by the Member of Parliament for my constituency) then I see it as the role of Government and politicians to step up and drive the necessity for change.

Thank you

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