Young people were striking again around the world for the climate on Friday 25 May. Year 11 student Junayd Islam reports on the fourth climate strike in Cambridge.
With additional videos and photos by Michael McDonnell and Ian Allinson from the climate strike in Manchester.
Our recently established Student Eco Council went through a series of discussions and votes on actions we would take for the May action based on previous Climate strikes. We didn’t want the strikes to be boring and lose the interest of students.
Last month we had successful ‘Die-in’ preceded by a Teach-in featuring Lord Martin Rees, Prof Bhaskar Vira, Prof Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Lord Rowan Williams and Dr Joanna Depledge.
This month we had less time to organise because of exams, so instead of a Teach-In this time, we opted to gather first for speeches, followed by a march to the city centre, ending with chanting and speeches. The emphasis was on encouraging adults to support the strike. We had members of the NEU attend and speak. There is growing acceptance of adult speakers with consent from the Eco-Council. There is a danger, however, of adult speakers boring the students!
Almost 800 students and adults gathered at Shire Hall, the present home of the Tory majority East Cambridgeshire Council. Some clever negotiating meant that our PA was finally allowed to be powered by plugging into a socket inside the building. The students speaking ranged from 9 to 12 years old, informing us with facts and figures, reading a poem and delivering a passionate speech on the destruction of animal habitat:
By the time Year 8s finish their GCSEs there is predicted to be more plastic in the seas than fish! But that is not going to happen because we will stop it! We are striking! And we will bring about change!
Stewards from Extinction Rebellion helped get the crowd safely across main junctions to the city centre gathering much interest from tourists and shoppers. Although the climate strike in March had the biggest turnout, four months of action has strengthened the movement: there have been new faces at each strike. We continue to gain new members from all schools, even those that face sanctions for striking.
The Eco Council have met with Lewis Herbert, Leader of the City Council to present our demands. Michael Gove shamefully ducked out of meeting our Eco council delegation at Parliament by cancelling our appointment hours before we were due to question him. We are not deterred and will pursue pushing local and National representatives to deliver on their promises to halt our Climate Crisis. Their words are not enough: we want action now! We will continue with monthly actions to ensure this.
Photos and videos by Michael McDonnell and Ian Allinson.
Around 600-700 marched through Manchester for the fourth climate strike and the mayor Andy Burnham addressed the crowd. Ian Allinson comments:
He got a very warm reception from the crowd, particularly for talking about free bus travel for 16-18 year olds from September. But the truth is that while that is a good policy for other reasons, it doesn’t get many people out of cars. And meanwhile the councils are backing the expansion of the airport and failing to provide the massively expanded free public transport and carbon neutral housing that are urgently needed.