The following is a guest post for Global Witness by Youth Strike for Climate Brighton, in the run up to the Global Climate Strike. Read more here on why we're supporting the strike on 20 September.
‘Children should be seen and not heard’. We at Youth Strike for Climate Brighton are convinced that this is an idea that truly belongs in the past.
In the past few months, over 1.5 million students have voiced their discontent, expressing outrage and frustration at the climate inaction by leaders today. It has appeared in the placards at our strikes, in the chants and the actions themselves. This is why we are so thankful that we came across the work of Global Witness so many months ago when we were devising the principles and messages that we wished our movement to stand for. Global Witness has helped us focus the outrage, to direct it at the root causes of the climate breakdown, namely the historical and contemporary system of extraction and expansion by imperial powers that has led some people to be far more vulnerable than others.
We are so thankful to the investigators, lawyers, campaigners, translators and defenders for dedicating their time and energy, and sometimes even their lives, to expose the present manifestation of this system. In particular, discovering the paths of corruption from world-recognised financiers to multinational corporations and security forces, has helped us to imagine how to begin unravelling the financial system that enables social and ecological destruction.
Here in Brighton, we have been in discussion with Global Witness, looking at how we can raise awareness about climate justice and thinking about how it affects people around the world. We want to educate other young people in Brighton to become informed citizens, reflecting on our differing privileges in these movements.
We need everyone to stand in solidarity with those all over the world who are already suffering the worst consequences of climate breakdown and with the young people who are facing an uncertain future. We will keep fighting no matter how much support we receive but the more support we have, the greater our strength and momentum. Action on the part of adults puts extra pressure on governments to work with urgency to tackle the climate crisis currently unfolding.
The story of environmental and land defenders, such as Berta Cáceres and so many others was what inspired us in the beginning, and continues to inspire us today. If our demands at the global climate strike for a Just Transition to a zero carbon economy are to be successful, social movements such as ours and organisations such as yours need to work together to ensure that climate action is directed at the true perpetrators of the crisis. With your expertise and our energy and political will, we can bring this about together.
Thank you for listening.