The core principles for a Green New Deal for the West Midlands was published on Friday.
They emerged from a two-hour Citizens Assembly, held at Birmingham City University in the wake of Parliament’s declaration of a climate emergency. The principles will now be shared with councillors across the region and a programme of follow-up events organised to turn them into practical ideas for change.
Liam Byrne, MP for Birmingham, Hodge Hill, said:
Our region led the industrial revolution. Now we have to lead the zero-carbon revolution. But we can’t design the kind of radical system change we need with the old top-down politics. We need to build a grassroots movement for change. It’s a tragedy that our Tory mayor failed to declare a climate emergency and offer the region a Green New Deal when he published his industrial strategy last week. But if he won’t offer the leadership we need, our citizens will.
This Tory government should now resign and give us a general election so we can elect a Labour government that’ll put a Green New Deal on the table immediately. And in our region we have some principles that should shape it.
You have been sharing your images via email. Below is a photograph sent by the mother of a 12-year-old in Brighton whose banner reads: “No pollution, no discrimination, Green Planet, for everyone, for ever”.
We have also been sent images of strikes in Melbourne, Australia, where – due to the time difference – action has already happened. Lauren Sandeman said: “The people that strike don’t want to be there. We shouldn’t have to be. But that isn’t the world we live in. For me personally and my fellow friends, we are heading into our final university exams – we have a lot on our plates. But we fight to find that 25th hour to make an individual impact, and part of that is adding our bodies and our voices to the climate strikes.”
Strikes are taking place all over the world, with people sharing images with climate activist Greta Thunberg.
In Birmingham, people are meeting at Victoria Square. Young people have been sharing the message that there are bigger stories than the prime minister Theresa May resigning. “Like the planet bordering on ecological collapse,” one person said.
Australia was one of the earliest countries to see widespread student strikes. This morning, young strikers took to the streets of Melbourne to demand action from politicians.
The recently reelected Liberal-National coalition have been criticised for their coal-friendly policies and weak action on climate change. My colleague Katharine Murphy has written more about the subject, and what the surprise defeat for the Labor party means for environmental policy in Australia, here:
Young Guardian readers have been telling us why they’re striking.
11-year-old Zola from New York says:
I will be taking part on Friday because I am scared for mine and other children’s futures. Our planet was handed to us broken and destroyed from previous generations and it is seriously unfair that we should be hit with its full effects.
I feel both empowered and scared. It is awesome that we have come this far and that kids have taken notice of our world’s faults but it’s frightening that we have to. If adults had taken action before it escalated to this point, we would have had a lot more time to help piece Earth back together.
Read the rest of her comments and those of other children here:
Greta Thunberg, the founder of the strikes, and 46 other youth activists from around the world have written a call to action, asking adults to join them in a strike in September in order to put pressure on politicians to act.
This is about crossing lines – it’s about rebelling wherever one can rebel. It’s not about saying “Yeah, what the kids do is great, if I was young I would have totally joined in.” It doesn’t help, but everyone can and must help.
Thunberg has tweeted a picture of herself striking again today:
Read the full piece here:
Hello, and welcome to the Guardian’s coverage of the global school climate strikes. Started by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg in Stockholm last August, they have since snowballed into a worldwide movement. Organisers say they expect the number of protesters today to surpass the numbers of the March strike, which attracted an estimated 1.4 million students. Read my colleague Matthew Taylor’s latest news story here.
A map of past, present and future climate strikes can be found on the Fridays For Future website.