As young people, we are told to work and study hard for our future, but with Climate Change progressing the question arises: what does that future look like? According to the International Panel on Climate Change, we have 11 years left to tackle Climate Change. 11 years that will decide the fate of our planet. 11 years that will decide our future. We were born into a world threatened by environmental destruction. For decades scientists have been speaking up and for decades politicians have been negotiating. Yet, nothing substantial has been done!
St Andrews might just be a small town and we might not be able to gather a crowd as big as a city, but we still want to demonstrate how much we care. Together with cities and towns from around the world, we joined the Youth Climate Strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg on Friday the 15th of March. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year- old climate activist from Sweden, has mobilised an entire generation to stand up in the face of Climate Change and government inaction.
Over the last two weeks we rallied the troops by spreading the word on social media, posters and through word of mouth. Even though we did not have much time, today we saw the impact that a small group of passionate individuals can make. With as little as a day’s notice school children from as far afield as Anstruther joined us in St Savator’s Quad at 10 am, sporting provocative signs and loud voices. We chatted, chanted, stamped our feet and united in name of climate action:
“What do we want? – Action! When do we want it? Now!”
We quickly realised that with such a large crowd we could split the demonstration and have double the impact. One half stayed outside the Quad whilst the rest of us made our way past the library, onto the Scores, past the Cathedral, along South Street, passing by Market Street and back onto North Street. Everyone involved was enthusiastically chanting phrases such as “System Change not Climate Change!”, “Climate’s changing – why aren’t we?” and “No more coal, no more oil – keep your carbon in the soil!” Whilst we ended our demonstration back in the Quad, the other group made their way to the town hall carrying their posters and demanding climate action.
One of the aims of these protests is to get the government to declare a Climate Emergency. There have been mixed reactions to the movement with some politicians being outraged and others such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas publicly supporting the demonstrations. Either way, our future on Earth is at stake and we will continue standing up for climate justice.
It is clear that this is only the beginning of our climate action journey. The signs are clear, and Climate Change is escalating more quickly and dramatically then previously expected. We cannot stand by and continue living our lives as usual when we are the one’s who will pick up the pieces. This is a climate emergency and we need everyone to act that way.
The next Climate Action St Andrews Strike will be on Friday the 12th of April and we plan to gather and unite even more people. This is our future. We will stand up for it. Come and join the global movement and make history.