Tens of thousands of young people in cities across the UK have walked out of their schools and colleges today (Friday 15 February), joining an international movement of youth strikes to demand action on climate change.
Laura Di Chiara and her school-friends joined the climate strike today. It was much bigger than they expected, but Laura argues that the movement will have to keep growing until the government starts to take real action on climate change.
We weren’t even out of the train station and we could hear the rambunctious chants. The sun was shining. It was delightful. It was as though the weather knew that we were trying to save this planet.
On the way, my friends and I were thinking there was going to be maybe 1,000 people there. There would be a small speech and it might end early: it was a school day and our school was against the strike.
So it was a shock when on our arrival, we saw hundreds and hundreds of people, all here for the same thing, to take control our future. Everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs, blowing whistles, waving their own banners. Parliament Square was an ocean of young people. It seemed endless.
There were primary school students taking pictures, screaming chants and holding banners. We saw hundreds of children in secondary school like us, all the way up to college and university students. Even though the age gap was large, it was clear that we all wanted the same thing, a clean green planet that we want to inherit.
Suddenly me and my friends noticed that thousands people were all cheering and heading in the same direction. We marched with them finding ourselves outside Downing Street singing and protesting joyfully. Smiling and united we held our banners high and made it definitely clear we are not going to let our world be ruined.
There were people climbing on everything. Today I climbed on Millicent Fawcett and Churchill’s face was covered in banners. All the walls or window ledges had someone on them yelling about the climate, with a banner swaying side to side. Police scrambled to try and get kids off traffic lights who somehow found their way up there. We all walked between the traffic and yelled at drivers to turn off their engines. A couple of times I found myself in front of a bus sitting and singing songs with many of my student peers.
The amazing atmosphere carried on even when I started to leave at 15:30. It was meant to end at 14:00, but it lasted way longer. There were still people rushing towards it from the train station when I was entering it to leave the demonstration.
However, it will never really be over until our government realises that we need to be a green country, swapping fossil fuels with sustainable energy with no carbon footprint and as a country we stop exploiting wildlife and filling our oceans with plastic and polluting the skies with factories and cars. When our government finally wakes up and starts going green.