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#WeekForFuture, a historical moment when the largest climate strike in history took to the streets in a global movement. The 20 September, the first day of the week-long strikes, was a day when the youth of the world stood, marched, chanted and sat in protest to the violent degradation of our planet.
Greta Thunberg, the young woman who sparked the flame of climate rebellion, spoke about the UN Climate Action Summit in New York saying, “we will make them hear us.” She has become a beacon of power, standing for climate justice since August 2018.
Admirably, she began her transatlantic activism by traveling to New York aboard a boat, keeping her pledge to limit her carbon footprint by not travelling by plane, a move that has inspired most and angered others. Her strength and courage are an inspiration for the generations both younger and older than her. At the strike in Canterbury, there were many boards of protest quoting her. In amongst the mass of people was a small boy, dressed in his school uniform clutching a sign reading: ‘This is our planet too’.
It has become hard to ignore the devastation of our planet, what with the violent weather we have experienced over the last decade. We have experienced fatal earthquakes, category five hurricanes, flooding, and heatwaves. A recent National Geographic article wrote, “The last four years have been the hottest on record, with 2019 on track to make it five.” This is almost too mad to believe. Yet, it is our truth.
The strikes are no doubt only the beginning, with people across the world taking charge of changing our fate. Trees are being planted by a search engine, Ecosia, repopulating rainforests and repairing the damage done by palm tree plantations. WhoGivesACrap is a company that provides completely recycled toilet paper and donates 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need. TOTM is a fully organic cotton period subscription company, providing cruelty-free, biodegradable tampons, pads and liners.
There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint and help save our drowning world, but not enough.
If we are to survive, we need to act.
Greta Thunberg stated at the UN Climate Action Summit, “you are failing us, but the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you and if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”
This rings true. During the protest in Canterbury, there was rising agreement among the ranks that governments around the world are failing and the consensus was one of environmental revolution. Taking part in the strike was a fulfilling experience and conveyed the sense of urgency needed to heal our planet. It was heartwarming to meet many Kent students attending, all of whom were studying varying degrees; thus displaying that this crisis affects and concerns a vast majority, not just an enlightened minority.
All over the world the fight endured; strikes in New Zealand, moving to Asia and Africa as #WeekForFuture came to a close. But the rebellion will not end. There are many more strikes planned and more work that needs to be done. Harrison Ford spoke out at the UN, on behalf of Conservation International, urging leaders to listen to young people and let them save the planet. “They are a moral army,” he said, “and the most important thing we can do for them is to get the hell out of their way.”
The evidence of this army rising is appearing everywhere, and the unofficial leader is an inspiring teenage girl with Asperger’s. Greta ended her impassioned speech at the UN with, “the world is waking up, and change is coming whether you like or not.” At the risk of sounding corny, I believe this is the climate action equivalent to “Avengers assemble” and we’d do well to answer the call. After all, this is our planet too.