It’s over a week since I took part in the Youth Strike 4 Climate and it’s taken me just as long to come down to earth. Let’s just say, I’ve been tired ever since!
That day was a turning point for me, a day that I will look back on and say I stood up for what I believe in, I was there and I did something about it.
Why do a school strike for climate change?
I was inspired to strike by the climate activist, Greta Thunberg. My Mum showed me a clip of her speech on the news and I was blown away; I was like, ‘I want to be a part of that’ and strike together with other young people.
Going on a school strike for climate change isn’t something that I chose to do lightly and I’m fully aware that it certainly divides opinion. Some people don’t believe in climate change, they think it’s part of the earth’s natural cycle; whilst others consider striking from school as truancy/blagging a day off! My school, fully supported me and gave me an authorised absence and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
I can get that time back at school, but if we don’t take action, we can’t get the polar bears back, the ice caps back and prevent the seas from rising.
Having a banner at a protest is really important as it gets your message across! London Calling by The Clash became my theme for the strike. It’s one of my fav songs and I’m always playing with the lyrics to reflect stuff that is happening in my life.
My Aunty Claire was given 5 mins notice to work on it, with a brief of ‘use The Clash album cover, but replace the guitar with a symbol of destruction and here’s the words to use‘.
Four hours later it was done – it’s pretty cool eh !
It was a bit of a crazy morning to begin with; it started with a 7am appearance on the Chelsea Norris BBC Radio Manchester, Breakfast Show, where I was asked, “what I was hoping to achieve by striking?”, to which I replied,
“people need to wake up to the fact that kids do care about things, kids want to see real change…and for politicians to see, that a change needs to happen”
You can listen to the interview here at 1:17mins (expires 15.03.19)
BBC Breakfast TV Interview
Literally next door to BBC Radio MCR is the BBC Breakfast Studio, so it was a quick dash to make-up (yeah that’s right, make-up) and then me and my Mum were mic’d up and ready to go live on air, which was absolutely nerve wracking!
Claire Perry MP ( Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) was also being interviewed.
I had mixed feelings about the interview; whilst it was great to be interviewed about the climate strike, on such a well known news programme, I didn’t feel I got much of a voice and that the MP dominated the interview. I posed a question to her:
“What actions are you taking to reassure my generation about climate change, because we are the ones, who are going to live with your decision?”
Like a lot of politicians, she spoke a lot and her response wasn’t very accessible to kids!
BBC Social Media Interview
A quick interview took place by the BBC social media team, they described me as a Climate Change Campaigner – I like that! Here I urged the government to take action as it’s us kids who will bear the brunt of climate change; I feel it’s one of the biggest problems facing us in the 21st century.
Meanwhile back at St Peter’s Sq
We left Media City and headed over to St Peter’s Sq; we were a little early so we chilled in the historic Central Library for a while. About an hour before the protest, you could sense the build up as people started to arrive and come together, with powerful and creative messages on their banners.
Amongst all the hustle ‘n’ bustle, I was interviewed by a journalist from The Guardian, which enabled me to speak up about the impact climate change is having on wildlife.
I’d say my fav TV interview of the day was for CBBC Newsround; the filming team were so cool and knew how to work with kids! Here, I talked about my inspiration to strike, Greta Thunberg and how I wanted to do my bit to save the planet!
You can watch the 19second clip here
The Protest Begins
It was quite a small gathering at first and then it was like The Cavalry arrived as the student protest from Manchester Uni marched in shouting, “what do we want, climate justice, when do we want it, now” and I felt like I was part of something proper.
And then it was time for me to do my speech and I can’t begin to tell you how nervous I was; by then there was perhaps 1000+ people in the crowd and it took a lot of courage to speak. The crowd were so behind me and it was incredible to be with so many like minded people, who were all as passionate as me about saving our precious planet.
Here’s my speech:
I’ve been asked if I wrote this myself – I most certainly did. After having an initial conversation with my Mum and Dad about climate change, I rattled it off; tho we did the London Calling re-wording together.
Thanks to Amee and Matt from Lizardfish TV for filming and editing the speech, it really captures the vibe and emotion of the day!
I really enjoyed being part of the protest and once my speech was over, I just joined in with the crowd and became part of it.
There was a bit of negative stuff online about the protest, but I ignored it, we’re all entitled to our opinions!
To shut some people up, who thought us kids travelled there in our parent’s 4×4’s and SUV’s, well here I am going home on the tram!
It was such a long, tiring, emotional, adrenaline fuelled day that I promptly fell asleep!
I’d like to thank the organisers for doing such a great job of bringing such a monumental event together – it was totally epic and one I’ll never forget.