Last September, thousands of young people up and down the country showed the world what real activism looks like, taking to the streets to march against climate change, government inaction and the destruction of our futures. At this General Election, the environment should be at the top of every agenda and, as a young co-operator, the Co-operative Party’s Policy Platform with a Co-operative Green New Deal at its forefront gives me hope.

Our planet is in crisis and we are running out of time. Climate change is now impacting every country on every continent, with extreme weather and rising temperatures increasingly becoming the norm. Despite this urgency, governments across the world have been far too slow to act, putting the future of our planet at risk. A bold, co-operative vision for fighting the climate crisis is needed now more than ever, so I’m thrilled that our policy platform offers a radical, wide-reaching policy that not only considers the needs of our planet, but also the impact on workers, young people and those who climate change will hit the hardest.

At the heart of the plan is the need for a just transition. We know that tackling climate change will mean major changes to our economy, ones that could easily leave workers and families behind. But the co-operative approach, based on fundamental principles of solidarity and social responsibility, shows us that a safer and cleaner planet doesn’t have to come at the expense of people’s livelihoods. Real investment in green jobs, training and infrastructure will ensure that we not only build a greener economy, but an economy that works for us all.

Any lasting climate change policy must also emphasise sustainability and make certain that sustainable lifestyles are accessible to all. The Co-operative Green New Deal emphasises this, advocating for policies that make the most sustainable choice the easiest and most affordable. New green worker co-operatives and community energy projects give ordinary working people a say and a stake in the green transition, ensuring that acting in the interests of the environment doesn’t rely on income, wealth or privilege.

I know through my work with local community climate groups that climate change will be one of the biggest issues for young people at this election – it’s our future at stake, and we must be the ones fighting for change. This means holding our schools, campuses, favourite shops and public services to account. The co-operative plan includes the use of wellbeing budgets, which would require public bodies and businesses to report on their impacts on a whole range of wellbeing measures, including their effects on the environment and future generations. Accountability matters, and measures like this help us take control and demand action.

Our generation must and will be the first to properly tackle climate change. This means putting an end to excuses, dismissals and plaster policies, and instead adopting a bold new approach. The Co-operative Green New Deal shows that an environment action plan for the next Parliament that puts people at its heart is within reach. Climate change is coming – in fact, it’s already here. It’s solidarity, co-operation and action that will save us, and the time is now.

You can download the #GE2019 Co-operative Party Policy Platform here.