Statement from Extinction Rebellion in support of Youth Strike 4 Climate

climate ecological education emergency roadblock

Extinction Rebellion salutes all the courageous children who are striking on Friday as part of the UK’s first UK-wide Youth Strike 4 Climate. The climate and ecological disaster we face is putting their future in jeopardy, with thousands of schoolchildren choosing to disrupt the system that is so clearly failing them.

We support their demands that:

  • The Government declare a climate emergency and prioritise the protection of life on Earth, taking active steps to achieve climate justice
  • The national curriculum is reformed to address the ecological crisis as an educational priority
  • The Government communicate the severity of the ecological crisis and the necessity to act now to the general public
  • The Government recognise that young people have the biggest stake in our future, by incorporating youth views into policy making and bringing the voting age down to 16.

This is a growing movement, with children from over thirty towns across the UK participating and the union of headteachers supporting it. Every day we hear more reports about climate and ecology -related disasters, the origins of which are man-made, the consequences of criminal responsibility on the part of countless so-called ‘grown-ups’. Young people are standing up and saying enough is enough.

There are no better words than those of Greta Thunberg – the 16 year-old Swedish climate activist who created the School Strike for Climate movement – to tell the story of this moment: “Our house is on fire! I don’t want your hope. I want you to feel the fear. I want you to act as if the house is on fire. Because it is.” [1]

Since last August, when Greta decided to break Swedish law and go on strike by sitting outside the Swedish Parliament, schoolchildren in over 270 cities around the world have been striking for their future – from Australia to Japan to Uganda – with hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren having taken to the streets. Further global strikes are scheduled for 15th March and 15th April.

Thank you Greta

We are grateful for Greta’s leadership in starting the school strike movement which is being sustained by the leadership of thousands of young people. We had the honour of having Greta speak at Extinction Rebellion’s Declaration of Rebellion in Parliament Square on 31st October, which launched our worldwide movement demanding action on the climate and ecological emergency. [2]

Extinction Rebellion UK has since been actively demanding that the British government tell the truth about climate change and the ecological crisis, that it introduce policies now to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, and that these changes by overseen by a genuinely democratic Citizens’ Assembly.

This is just the beginning.

Some key upcoming actions:

  • 11am Friday 22nd February – Climate Truth For Schools at the Department of Education.Next Friday – Extinction Rebellion to support teachers in bringing Climate Truth to the Department of Education. Next Friday  teachers – supported by Extinction Rebellion – will be protesting at the Department for Education at 12 midday Friday 22 February to demand that the climate and ecological emergency is made an educational priority. Gathering at Old Palace Yard, Westminster, they will then march to the Department for Education at 20 Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BT. Facebook event is The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just told the world what our future looks like, yet the science is being ignored by the UK curriculum. With teachers we will assemble at the Department of Education to demand that those in positions of responsibility face the truth and allow educators to teach it
  • 9am Sunday 17th February – XR London: Swarm Fashion Week – Disrupt Business As Usual, exact location(s) TBC. In 2018, textile production emitted more greenhouse gasses than all international flights and commercial maritime ventures combined. “With love in our hearts, we will disrupt Fashion Week. We will swarm the streets, slow down those racing between shows and spread the message of Extinction Rebellion.”
  • Further school strikes will take place on 15th March and on 15th April 2019 to coincide with International Rebellion Day
  • Lots more protests and events! There are many other actions and events happening now in London and around the UK due to Extinction Rebellion’s decentralised structure (too many to list here). For the latest news, see our website’s event page or our Facebook events list.

Notes

[1] Greta Thunberg “Our House is on Fire” 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrF1THd4bUM

[2] Video of Greta Thunberg at Extinction Rebellion’s Declaration of Rebellion launch on 31st October at Parliament Square in London –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8prVarP-rQ. Text of Greta’s speech – https://medium.com/wedonthavetime/the-rebellion-has-begun-d1bffe31d3b5

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