By Mima Bone

Over 100 people gathered on Friday 29th November in Hastings town centre for the latest Global Climate Strike. Organised by UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), this rally marked the eighth time young people had gathered together in the name of climate justice in Hastings. The movement, also called #FridaysForFuture, takes inspiration from the school strikes started by Greta Thunberg in August 2018.

PICTURE: Chris Broughton

Young people have called on everyone to join them in the monthly strikes, with a statement from Ms Thunberg back in May 2019.

“We feel a lot of adults haven’t quite understood that we young people won’t hold off the climate crisis ourselves. Sorry, if this is inconvenient for you. But this is not a single-generation job. It’s humanity’s job. We young people can contribute to a larger fight and that can make a huge difference.”

With a UK general election just days away, the emphasis at the Hastings strike was on proclaiming the need for adults to VOTE EARTH. One of the demands of the UKSCN is for the government to lower the voting age to 16, which would radically empower the very people whose lives will be most devastated by the climate crisis we face. One succinct placard held by a teenager at the strike read: DON’T PANIC, with the word DON’T crossed out.

Supporting the youth strikers were Hastings and St Leonards Extinction Rebellion (XRHSL), with drummers and performers called ‘Red Rebels’. XRHSL is a growing local group which sounds the alarm on the climate and ecological crisis by disrupting ‘business as usual’. Creative actions aim to tell the truth about the environmental science, and draw public attention to the need to act now. The group is non-violent and welcomes everyone. They say: “We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. Life on Earth is in crisis: scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.”

Whatever the outcome of the general election, it is clear that drastic and urgent action is needed to tackle the climate crisis. David Attenborough said in a recent television interview with Jon Snow, when asked about Climate Change, “I don’t think we can reverse it. The best we can hope is that we can slow it down”, and he talked of his concerns over civil unrest and mass migration.

With this frightening vision of the future for the planet and its inhabitants, XR are determined to keep putting pressure on the governments and corporations responsible for the continuing increases in carbon usage and annihilation of biodiversity around the world. The next mass rebellion will be in April 2020, but you can be sure that there will be plenty of local actions to be involved in before then. And they call on everyone to join them: “We need you – whoever you are, however much time you have – to help build a powerful movement. Our vision of change involves mass participation. Together we’re unstoppable.”

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