Youth Strike 4 Climate - Oxford
It was a great privilege to speak in support of the Youth Strike 4 Climate in Oxford yesterday. It’s so awesome to see so many young people standing up for their future in the face of a Conservative government that is not only trashing the planet but belittling the children’s action as well.
My full speech (apologies for the lack of video!):
Thank you so much for welcoming me to speak today. My name is Robert, I’m a young Green Party activist from Oxfordshire and a student at Oxford Brookes University. It’s an absolute privilege to be addressing all of you who are doing such vital work fighting for our political leaders take action on the climate crisis.
For decades, those in power have failed to take meaningful action on the climate crisis. We’ve seen government after government in the UK choose not to face up to the crisis and take the bold action we need. And we’ve seen toothless international negotiations for decades become talking shops that don’t even come close to addressing the crisis.
And so often our political leaders not only fail to act - they actively make things worse. Licensing fracking in Lancashire, pushing for Heathrow expansion, subsidising the fossil fuel industry. At every turn we see government decisions driving us closer and closer to environmental collapse.
This is not good enough, and we won’t stand for it.
We know that the science is telling us that time is running out. We have just 12 years left to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. And yet our political leaders - those with the power to change this are sitting round with their fingers in their ears. They’re pretending that we can go on with business as usual.
We know that we can’t.
And that’s why what you are all doing today is so important. That’s why it’s so inspiring. After decades of decision makers ignoring the necessity of action on climate change, you are here today to say loud and clear that enough is enough.
We can’t go on subsidising the fossil fuel industry. We can’t go on pushing for ever more expansions of roads, or airports. And we can’t go on chasing riskier and more polluting forms of oil and gas extraction that will only serve to accelerate the impending crisis. Enough is enough!
But this isn’t just about standing in the streets and having our voices heard. This isn’t just about a show of support for climate action. This isn’t just a question of making sure politicians have to pay lip service to environmentalism.
No. This is about building a movement here in Oxford, in the UK and the globe that is too big to ignore. This is about building pressure all around the world so that we force our political leaders to take action. This is about ensuring if they refuse to take action, we remove them from office and replace them with people who will!
Because in the space of just 6 months, school students across the globe have completely reshaped the debate on climate change, and have built so much power behind the movement for climate justice. From Sweden to Australia, the Netherlands to Canada, England to Germany, Belgium to Switzerland, hundreds of thousands of young people have said that enough is enough and have walked out of classes to demand action now.
This is incredible movement.
Today is a huge landmark in the history of the climate movement. And it’s just the beginning.
I know that you’re all going to keep fighting, keep pushing, keep striking until we get the action we need. And we will get that action, we will force our political leaders to make change, and we will resist the worst effects of climate change. We will win!
Thank you so much!