WHILE most of us had a much-needed break over Easter, several hundred Hampshire residents joined thousands of others in London to protest at the pace of change over climate.

Several people I know replaced Sunday lunch at home, for sandwiches on the street in Marble Arch and quite a few spent the holiday in a prison cell.

So should we be supporting this type of direct action and with the local elections coming up should climate impact the way we vote?

Extinction Rebellion is nothing new. For the last few centuries, the UK has numerous examples of both successful and unsuccessful popular revolts against the politics of the day. From the Suffragette movement through to the anti-slavery campaign; people have taken to the streets and to the election booths to demand change. Climate change is undoubtedly the most pressing crisis facing the planet. And after one of the warmest April’s on record in Hampshire; we are reminded that global politics has a direct and substantial impact on our county. The water we drink, the food we eat, the flowers we see in spring, the insects that pollinate our fruit are all impacted by the changing climate.

With both the anti-slavery movement and the suffragette movement massive injustice was addressed face on and change happened as a result.

Today we face some of the most momentous decisions the globe has faced since the start of the Second World War. In short, if we don’t rapidly change the direction of travel we will be seeing far more than a bit of extra warmth in June or a few boat loads of desperate migrants on the coast in August. As increasing numbers of hungry and thirsty people seek new places in which to survive as their own countries become uninhabitable-we will be faced with some desperate decisions about our own way of life - our own ability to survive in a world where climate change will steadily throw the normal rules out of the window.

So what about Extinction Rebellion? I suspect like many movements; it is unlikely to still be there in a few years. (At the rate they are going most of their active members might be behind bars!!)

But what it has already achieved is a renewed conversation on the street, in the coffee shop, even whilst watching birds at some of the Hampshire nature reserves this week.

At long last we are as a county talking about climate and what we can do to address the crisis we face.

So to the local elections and here each of us has a chance to vote on what really matters. And I would argue that in addition to education, waste, health care and transport we should all be voting on climate. If your MP has a radical and creative approach to tackling climate change then that is a good reason to vote for them. If on the other hand they have no interest, no fresh ideas, no determination to drive through new policy then I would see that as a very good reason to vote for someone else.

So let’s all be a part of the Extinction Rebellion at this critical election time. We should swamp our MP’s with detailed questions on their climate credentials and let’s vote believing that climate change really is a much bigger issue than Brexit. We should know what local politicians are thinking about fossil fuels, fracking, subsidies for solar, subsidies for electric cars and how to phase out all single use plastic. In a few years Brexit will be long since forgotten. In a few years we could be facing utter catastrophe because we have failed to act in time on climate. And beyond the personal changes we will all need to make; we can also impact the future direction of climate policy at the ballot box.