Since we made headlines in February with the UK’s first school strike, we’ve seen an outpouring of support from our peers, parents, carers, politicians and other people from all walks of life. It seems that most people know we’re in a mess, but they just didn’t know what we can to do to get out of it.
This is where the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) stepped in, not necessarily out of choice, but necessity. There’s no time left for the “adults in the room” to solve the climate crisis. The politicians and powerful actors have failed us. Youth is rising up all around the world and here in the UK we’re emerging as one of the most powerful forces, demanding urgent and radical change.
The time for words is over, we need an era for action to stop impending climate breakdown. Pay attention, listen to us and, importantly, listen to the voices of those around the world already suffering the devastating effects of climate change. We may be young, but we’re fierce and we understand the challenges ahead of us.
However, if we’re to be successful and create a world that remedies the situation we’re confronted with, everyone needs to step up and demand a better world. A world free from the inequalities of climate change, a world free from the economic disparities created by the system that is to be held responsible for the climate crisis. Climate change is the unifying issue of this generation. We’re united under the banner of “system change, not climate change”. We’re forging a vision for a better world, one aligned with climate justice as a primary value, not a tokenistic phrase to throw around with little thought for its meaning. We need you to support us in forging this world out of the ashes of our current one. Here’s how:
1. Join us
Join the UK Student Climate Network and organise with us. Strike in your towns and cities. We’re a caring, thoughtful community, breaking down old prejudices and fighting for a more just world. You can set up a branch of UKSCN in your area and start doing weekly, fortnightly or monthly strikes. You can find information on how to get started on our website by clicking here. To get involved wherever you are in the world, head to the Fridays for Future website to find your nearest strike action. If there isn’t one nearby, register, start talking to friends, family, neighbours and everyone else. You’re joining a global movement and everyone has a part to play. If you aren’t able to give your time, why not make a financial contribution to support our fight?
2. Contact your elected representative
We have no illusions that change won’t be difficult to achieve, but we’re going to give it our best shot! We all need to take positive action and put pressure on our elected representatives, no matter which party they belong to. For too long our governments and others in positions of power have failed to take the necessary action and have relied upon delaying, denying and drowning out the voices of those who want to tackle the climate crisis. If those in power fail to enact the necessary changes, we need to give them the boot and elevate the voices that will stand up for people and planet. We need real leadership now.
3. Put pressure on educational establishments to properly convey the severity of the crisis
We’re not learning about climate breakdown. How we are to prepare for a drastically different world, or even properly fight for a different one if knowledge is being withheld? If you’re a teacher in a school or college or a lecturer in university you can put pressure on your institution to make the change. However, don’t just wait for change to happen, we need you to weave climate change into the educational fabric of our learning experience to give us the right tools for the fight!
4. Help build resilient and connected communities
Society has atomised us from one another, hampering our ability to create change. We need to start talking, have conversations with one another, engage with people about the climate crisis. We’re all going to be affected, some worse from others. We can learn from each others’ experiences and create a world that works for all, not just the privileged few.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start. To create a better, safer world, free from the devastation of climate change and ecological collapse, we need to reimagine the way our societies work. We need to challenge the status quo wherever we can and forge our own set of rules. There’s a whole world to create, so let’s not be bound by the stifling and disenfranchising politics of the current system. Support us to create our own.
• UK Student Climate Network is a small group of volunteers who were inspired by the powerful and direct protests made by young people against climate inaction across the rest of Europe