Why I Won’t Stop Striking To Save My Planet

I cannot describe how it feels to be 15 and believe that your government, your teachers, your parents even have betrayed you. Our futures, our very existence, are at risk because of the choices that they made.

The definition of democracy is government by the people, for the people. In the UK, 20% of those people are under 18. We have no vote. We have no political or economic power and we have been forgotten for far too long. We’ve been ignored and pushed aside, our futures traded for oil and gas and the lucrative profits that come with them. But, in fairness to our government, we remained silent. We said nothing, trusting in our naive belief that adults would do the right thing. That they knew best. But we’ve woken up from that fairytale and we won’t go back to sleep. We’ve had enough of silence and empty promises and we want to see real action and that’s why we continue our strike!

April 12th is the third time UK students will take to the streets to demand climate justice and the adults who criticise our movement can be sure that we will not be stopping any time soon. We are waiting for politicians to not only acknowledge our demands but to act on them. We want education reforms, we want a climate emergency and we want a voice, a vote. We know there are solutions. Radical societal changes that can save our futures but we need politicians to adopt that legislation. Policy like the Green New Deal can protect our future and create a world that we want to live in. Combating climate change is the bare minimum. We have the power to address social and economic inequalities, providing safe, stable and sustainable jobs for everyone. Divestment from fossil fuels and investment into renewables will not only protect our planet, it will protect our economy. We need our government to be supporting policies like this, not avoiding them. We need them to prioritise people over profit.

I cannot describe how it feels to believe that your government, your teachers, your parents even, the adults you trust and admire have betrayed you. That sense of hopelessness, because to us, everything is at stake! Our futures, our very existence, are at risk because of the choices that they made and yet even now, they still find it impossible to believe that we have no ulterior motive for striking. But I’m tired of justifying my decisions to them. I’m tired of being called a truant or a radical. I’m tired of being made to feel ashamed for standing up for what I believe in. The time has come for politicians to get on board. To not just say that we have their support, to show it. Scripted videos and evasive statements are not enough. We want to see them backing policies like theGreen New Deal, taxing companies like Shell and BP instead of taking their money and most importantly, listening to us! We are not the leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today and we want the laws to reflect that. Because unless something changes soon, we will have no tomorrow. I refuse to accept that. I refuse to believe that I have no future and that is why I fight. I fight for my future, my sister’s, my cousins’, my friends’, I fight for every child, born or not, so that they can have a future as well. We will not stop fighting, we will not stop striking and we will not stop speaking out.

I truly believe that we can win this battle, but in order to do that we need everyone’s support. We need our parents, teachers, politicians, doctors, dentists; everyone.

I am 15.

I can’t fight this alone.

But together we can. We must. We will.


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