Written by BGF-er Trixie Panatti-Reeve and friends, Charlotte Czernuszka, William Evans & Lulu Panatti-Reeve.
Over 1000 youths in Oxford and 1.5 million worldwide in a staggering 125 countries. Students across the globe are standing together to protect our futures which governments are overseeing.
To be part of a world wide climate protest is quite something; in over 125 countries a million other students just like us do really care about the future. On Friday the 15th of February we went on strike for the second time, this time as part of a global movement.
You might remember the last strike when it was suggested that we should be in school to learn about how we, as young people, can become the future saviours of our world. But this is missing the point. Our global strike is underlining the government negligence that has put the future climate at the bottom of their priorities. The last significant piece of Climate legislation was over a decade ago, and while this was a step in the right direction the issue is simply not being adequately addressed by the powers that be; in some parts of Oxford there was an average of 61 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre of air in 2016 - that’s over 50% above the EU’s safe limit - nitrogen dioxide is linked to cancer, asthma and heart problems on a local level.
Our previous climate strike was broadly successful; both the Oxford City Council and the Vale of the White Horse Council declared a climate emergency, but this is not enough. We want the government to call a climate emergency. We want UN countries to agree to stricter terms than the Paris agreement. We want our carbon emissions slashed, along with investment in fracking. Staying in school helps nobody. To quote many placards held at the strike “We’re missing our lessons to teach you one”. We don’t feel our education is giving us sufficient knowledge to tackle climate change. The youth are the future. How are we supposed to change if we aren’t given the tools to change it with? Climate change is not taught in school as an emergency, but another interesting fact about the world. If the government wants children to stay in school they should be sure to educate them on the issues that will affect students - issues that their generation have caused.
Of course it’s very easy as an adult to say that we’re just children bunking off of school; that we’re kids looking for an excuse to miss lessons that don’t actually care about the issues. I think that if that were the case the climate strike movement would not be international. There would not be placards filling Bonn Square for the second time in just over a month. There would not be children as young as eleven passionately giving speeches with one simple message; “if you won’t stand up for our Earth, then we will.” I think in many ways it’s quite poetic that in the age of huge blockbuster superhero movies young people in Oxford are working to save the world, and it’s belittling and somewhat ignorant to suggest that because young people are young they can’t enact change.
Gandhi said we should be the change we wished to see in the world, and that is what we are doing. We are taking action so the government can recognise our valid and pressing worries so our future is bright and clean for years to come.
Bright Green Future is a FREE year-long environmental training programme for 14-17 year olds which aims to give you the tools, knowledge and skills to make change and empower you to do the things that really matter. Through Bright Green Future you can learn about the most effective ways to fight climate change, gain confidence and meet loads of like-minded young people.
Applications for our new 2019 cohort are OPEN NOW Click here to apply.