‘Thoughts with Anna’ Series, post 1
Climate strike week 52. Still alone. (At least that makes it easy to social distance.) It is freezing cold and frosty this morning.
It’s been 1 year since I first did a weekly climate strike. Just like today, I walked for 1 hour to the Spirit of Belfast statue with my homemade sign and sat down to do a school strike for the climate. There’s still no real climate action. We still have an environment minister who knows nothing about the environment. We still have a government who cares more about flags than social and climate justice. We still have no NI specific climate act.
I will keep on striking until NI treats the climate and ecological crises as crises. Last October, Belfast City Council declared a climate emergency; a few months later NI Assembly followed. They pledged to act as if they would in an emergency. They lied. Reacting to a declaration of a climate emergency would mean acting on the fact that Dalradian mine is still running, 1 in 24 people die every year in Belfast from our illegally high (2nd highest in the uk) levels of air pollution and that most of Belfast, Derry and other places will be underwater due to sea level rise in less than 30 years. In a whole 12 months, they have done nothing of significance or shown any of the urgency required.
Do you think I enjoy sitting on a stone slab in icy cold weather for hours while my friends are in a nice warm classroom getting an education? No. But I have no choice. The people in power are too selfish to see the responsibility of their actions and we must raise awareness somehow. Our emissions are directly affecting those in MAPA. The climate crisis is not some far off problem for future generations to deal with. That generation has already arrived and it is ours. People all over the world are becoming refugees, homes are being destroyed in floods and fires, entire ecosystems are collapsing, but we are continuing to emit anyway.
This is not a matter of opinion. I don’t care whether you’re Sinn Fein or DUP. I don’t care whether you’re green or orange. I don’t care which perceived ‘side’ you’re on. This isn’t the school yard, politicians aren’t meant to act like children, they’re meant to be the mature ones but I’ve never seen them act like it. This is people’s lives. Climate science cannot be disputed, it’s simply facts. The climate crisis doesn’t care which ‘side’ they’re on. It will kill us either way. So they must swallow their pride and get back to work, there’s a lot to be done and very little time left to do it in.
The most that we young people who have been school striking for the climate have heard so far is how inspiring we are to leaders and how much hope we give them. This makes us even less hopeful than before. I personally don’t have a lot of hope. I am motivated by fear. Because if the very people who actually have the power to act are getting their hope from us, kids who can’t create a climate act, then we are screwed.
NI politicians have a choice today. Right now due to the coronavirus, the world is at a pause. And the politicians have the power in how we press play again. Are they going to do nothing in terms of a green recovery, or are they going to invest in green industries, renewable energy, and sustainable transport? A green recovery also involves the creation of green jobs, ensuring a just transition for those in polluting industries, and withholding bailouts to polluters who aren’t committed to transitioning to green, sustainable ways.
The youth are watching them, we are holding them accountable and we won’t stop striking until they ensure a safe future. See you next week for climate strike week 53.
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