By Lulu, a school student and climate activist based in London.
My experience with the climate movement started in February when I proudly walked out of my geography lesson to attend the School Strike for Climate hosted by UKSCN. The streets of central London were packed with school children all fighting for the same cause: climate justice.
My feelings of anger and frustration made me realise I needed to do something. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I stood by and let this crisis continue. Since then, I have attended every strike and I spent every day of April half-term holiday protesting with Extinction Rebellion (XR) during rebellion week. I also took part in disruption day, where we taped off fast fashion shops and got involved in die-ins to highlight the damaging effects that fast fashion has on the environment (it’s one of the most polluting industries in the world.)
Within Extinction Rebellion is the XR youth group. XR youth is the community of young voices, for everyone born after 1990 – a generation that has never known a stable climate and that will be defined by how the government responds to the climate and ecological crisis. XR has developed youth-focused resources, providing mentoring and learning opportunities; working alongside other youth campaigns, such as the School Strike for Climate, and connecting young people.
I’ve been changing the small details in the way I live to support the movement, by reusing plastic, making adjustments to my diet and avoiding fast fashion shops. It is my responsibility to do everything I can to prevent the climate catastrophe that is quickly approaching. At least if our demands are not met in time, I will be able to tell my children I did everything I could to help.
My hopes for the future
In May, the UK parliament voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency- the first country in the world to do so. This was a giant milestone for Extinction Rebellion, meeting one of our demands. Thanks to some exquisite acts of sustained mass disruption in London, across the Uk, and around the world, along with the sterling efforts of the youth climate strikers, Greta Thunberg, and David Attenborough, the ongoing environmental apocalypse is coursing through the public and political consciousness.
The government must now follow with more truth-telling and direct action to tackle this crisis in what little time we have. The rebellion will continue until a radical change is made. We will not settle for more declarations. We will settle for a bright future wherein all three of XR’s demands are met, and we will continue to apply pressure until then.
Scientists say we have 11 years to radically reduce carbon emissions if we have any chance of staying at 1.5 degrees, the internationally agreed safe limit to warming. This means radical action is needed in the next 12 months.
The crisis has been confirmed. Now it is up to us to hold the government accountable. We have brought climate change into the political debate and now we need action.