RISING TIDE – Youth Climate Protest in Hastings
By Mima Bone
“What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like!” So went one of the vocal and impassioned chants at Hastings’ second Youth Strike for Climate last Friday, 15th March. Around 180 people gathered in the town centre to join their voices with protestors around the world demanding action on climate change.
Despite the gloomy weather, local young people showed up in force to voice their well-informed anger at government inaction on the climate crisis we are now facing. Creative and inventive home-made banners shouted their messages for all to see: The Seas are Rising: So are We; Pollution Causes Revolution; Our Future in Your Hands; Schools Have to Be Parliaments If Parliament is a School Yard; Fight For Our Future; I Speak for the Trees; I’m Missing History Today So We Can Make A Future; Be Part of the Solution Not Part of the Pollution.
Protestors varied in age from six months up to 18 years. Connie Fox, aged six, said “This is a special day. I am with my friends, celebrating the world, it’s kind of like a party.” Young people were joined by adults showing support for their message. One mother, Hannah, explained “I am here to support my kids to take action. I was inspired by the energy of so many young people.”
A fantastic show of community, the Youth Strike was attended by pupils from primary and secondary schools across Hastings, Rye, Bexhill, Battle and St Leonards, as well as many home-educated youngsters. Local politicians including Peter Chowney (Labour) and Julia Hilton (Green Party) lent their support by attending and listening to strikers. An exuberant carnival atmosphere was created by the young protestors, and their message was enthusiastically received by passers-by. Jacqui Hyett, aged 70, commented: “I have been surprised at the amount of support the parade is receiving – people came out of the shops to watch and encourage. It is the children’s future. It’s their day now. I want to see politicians harnessing their positive energy and backing them.”
One of the strikers, Raven, aged 13, explained his participation: “About ten of us had to sign a leaflet for my headteacher, Mr Vice, at Robertsbridge, to let him know we were going out on strike. He supported us. I am here because I believe climate change has to be acted upon now; if it isn’t, it will be too late, and it will ruin the world for my, and future, generations. We are drumming, with my dad leading, as it is a great way to motivate the marchers and keep us together as one. The only thing we could do to improve this is to have more people – and, to do that, everyone here needs to bring more friends on the next march.”
Youth Strike 4 Climate UK have announced that the third national protest will be on Friday 12th April, so you can join the rising tide of young people demanding action in Hastings then.
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