Education Or Activism?
Over the past few months the school strikes for climate have changed the way students and young people express themselves to their governments all over the world. The school strikes have given us a way of raising our voices which wouldn’t necessarily be heard otherwise.
We are after all, the generation that will have to deal with the brunt of the climate crisis. In 11-years time we will hit the limit after which climate change will be completely irreversible. Therefore, our generation must be taken into consideration when it comes to government decision making. The climate strikes have become a platform for us as a group - a global group - to express our anger at the lack of government action, progress or even acknowledgement of the severity of this crisis.
The climate strikes have drawn attention to the issue like never before. They have successfully made climate change a topic of conversation and debate at different levels, from government to classrooms to just discussion amongst friends. This dialogue is a crucial step towards change.
I left the climate strike with a feeling that I'd been a part of something. I had used my voice, my legs and my time effectively. I left inspired to continue encouraging change but with a feeling that more could be done. We can’t waste the enthusiasm and buzz that the climate strikes have created around climate change. We need to harness it and use it to be proactive in making changes in our own lives. We also need to continue to use it to force governments around the world to wake up and make their own changes.
Not only did the strike feel like a positive political stand but it was fun. It felt like a huge social gathering, everyone bumping into old friends, laughing at the witty signs and generally having a good time. But it was a social gathering with a purpose - with a larger goal of creating political change. At points, it felt as if this larger purpose was somewhat forgotten and the 15,000 students in Parliament Square in February could have just been there because it was more fun than period two geography. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all, but it’s worth reminding ourselves why we’re really doing this.
Taking the decision to prioritise protest over education shouldn’t be done lightly – but it is the right thing to do. Before taking the bold step of skipping school to protect the climate, I think people should at least begin to make minor adjustments in their own lives first. In no way do I think that you must be 100% vegan, walk everywhere, only shop in charity shops, never fly and never touch single-use plastic (although doing all these things would be great), but I think that you should at least give some thought to changes that you can make in your own life first before committing to strike action.
If we’re to question the government's action, or lack thereof, we should first question ourselves and I think that anyone planning to skip school or work on the 20th of September should remember this.
Maybe see you there?