Opinion piece for belfast Live

I’m Anna Kernahan, I’m 17-years-old, I’m a climate activist from Belfast and I need you to act.

We have entered into a new decade with the aspirations of a fresh start, but instead we are being burned alive in Australia, drowning in Jakarta and consequently crushing the potential of our future generations surviving.

According to the IPCC special repost on climate change that was published back in 2018, we need to have net zero global emissions by 2050 and keep our warming above pre-industrial levels to no more than 1.5 degree to not cause the sixth mass extinction.

Yet, our emissions are still rising.

I am the founder of Fridays for Future in Belfast and I am the only weekly climate striker in Northern Ireland.

I don’t want to sacrifice my education to sit on a concrete slab in the freezing, wet Belfast weather but I don’t have a choice.

The adults responsible for this crisis are ignoring it just because of a number on a bank account when actual people are actually dying all over the world as you read this.

You know that the system is flawed when a bunch of kids are forced to be more mature than the people who are making the decisions on their behalf.

I strike for the climate because I am too young to vote so I don’t have a say in the decisions that will affect my future.

I am forced to skip school in an attempt to raise awareness and influence the adults voting on my behalf. This must change.

Many people think that we are striking all over the world every Friday just to miss school.

However, if that was the reason, we would have given up a long time ago because activism is like having a full time job and this is on top of full time education.

Yes, I am just a child so I don’t want to you listen to me. All I want is for you to listen to the best available science and act accordingly.

I refuse to sit in a class writing notes that I can easily catch up with later once the climate crisis has been dealt with, when I could be out on the streets saving the world because we have officially ran out of time.

There is no time to be obedient. There is no time to be polite. This is the time to be blunt. We are failing as a society. Every single tactic that has been used to try and mitigate the effects of the climate crisis has not worked yet because emissions are still rising.

I have 100% faith in the Fridays for Future movement that we will beat this crisis, we just need to unite behind the science together. 

It is crucial that every single person takes to the streets in the United Kingdom on the April 3 to pressure the government and show Westminster they can’t ignore us any longer.

This is your chance to stand up to the politicians you feel betrayed by, to convey your frustration at the lack of urgency and to help you feel the community spirit.

Being a climate activist can be very isolating because sometimes when you’re solo- striking you can feel like you are the only one who cares but on the April 3 we will be united behind the science.

See you on the streets.

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