“What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!” The words of the young people that took to the streets of York today to strike for action against climate change.
From Stop Brexit protesters, to the unions Unite and Unison, to the Green Party, the Labour Party, the young socialists, and many others with various political ideologies, united today around a single cause: Climate Change.
They’ve joined thousands of other young people across the globe taking strike action today against climate change.
In a speech given at the start of the demonstration, Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central said “If you don’t show up, nothing happens, but if you do show up, anything can happen.” For these people, showing up was the core theme of this demonstration. Showing up to give your support to a cause you think is important.
There was not universal support. One elderly couple asked me, “Taking them out of school; what’s wrong with doing it Saturday morning?”
I think the reply to that question comes from a speech given a little later one by one of the protesters. In it, he said “what is the point of studying for exams for a future that won’t exist? … What do good grades mean, if we don’t have a country to use them in?”
However, another elderly man expressed to me his support for the strike and spoke of how much of a shame it is to see the rainforests destroyed and animals go extinct.
Public sentiment today in York seemed to be on the student’s side too. As the protesters marched and chanted around the city centre, people were smiling and clapping. One woman said to me that she “thought it was marvelous what these young people are doing.”
Later in a tweet, Maskell wrote, “Michael Gove used to be the Education Secretary, now young people are giving him an education”
This idea of young people giving adults the education is prevalent in these strikes. However, the worry for many of these young people is that adults won’t get the message until it’s too late.