By Mima Bone

Speaking last week, David Attenborough summarised the state of our climate and ecological crisis as follows: “As far as we know, there have been five major extinctions on this planet. Events caused by changes so severe that many species simply can’t adapt and, as such, die out. Right now, we are in the midst of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. One every bit as profound and far-reaching as that which wiped out the dinosaurs.”

It is not easy to know what to do, say or think in the face of such stark knowledge about the very continuation of life on our planet. Yet around the world, young people – those who will bear the brunt of the environmental crisis – are showing leadership in standing up to be counted on this subject. 

In Hastings, around 80 people gathered again last Friday,12th April for the third UK-wide Youth Strike 4 Climate. Once again, their message was clear, and they communicated their understanding of just how serious and urgent our situation is through vibrant placards: What I Stand For Is What I Stand On; Forget Brexit – We’d Like A Viable Planet Please; There Will Be More Plastic Than Fish In The Ocean By 2050; There Is No Planet B; The Only Thing The Climate Should Change Is Our Priorities!; Stop Pollution – Save Our Planet; Don’t Trash The World; Make Earth Cool Again; Team Planet – No To Mars!; Shut Up About Brexit – The World Is Dying; I’ve Seen More Intelligent Cabinets At Ikea; Save Our Planet, Fight For Our Future; All You Need Is Love – And A Planet To Live On.

Many of the flags flying at the protest bore the symbol of a stylised hourglass within a circle. This motif, originally created by street artist Xylo in 2011, is now recognised as the Extinction Rebellion symbol. The circle represents our planet, and the hourglass represents time rapidly running out as we face a sixth mass extinction. 

Though the Youth Strike protestors created a joyous atmosphere in Hastings, young people are also angry. And with good reason: there are still few signs of serious, radical action from government to recognise and act on this climate emergency which threatens their future lives so directly. Far from worrying about whether the youth of today are missing a day of school or not, we should be joining and supporting them in demanding action now.

• Find out more on social media #youthstrike4climateHastings #fridaysforfuture or www.ukscn.org and https://rebellion.earth


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