Jun 17, 2019
CDEC's work experience student Eliza Pink Dangerfield gives us the inside track on the climate change demonstrations Fridays For Future, and why it matters to her, and that is should to everyone, that the protests continue.
Yes, it's *another* piece of writing about climate change.
I will assume that most of you have already heard something about the strikes that have been taking place around the world; mainly, the largest one which is held on a particular Friday, once a month by many students across different continents.
But just in case you have somehow missed this international activism, these strikes are called Fridays For Future and are all about climate change.
The Climate Strikes
The climate strikes are a widely debated issue amongst people of all ages.
Most young people think they are fantastic and agree with both the core message and the action being taken but some adults are not as happy.
Most leaders (or at least those who are mainly speaking up) argue that children are just looking for time off school and that they are wasting their educations, for example, Scott Morrison (the Australian PM) who said, "What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools". But young people ignored the discouragement, persisted and responded by striking during half-term too, as planned.
The events held during the strikes also include people learning about climate change with statistics and facts being read out at various points at many, if not all, of the main strikes.
I do understand that strikes from school seem a little 'over-the-top' to some. However, drastic times call for drastic measures and, really, they are simply peaceful protests which are not causing anyone any harm.
Why Are We Striking?
A lot of the time it feels to us people under the age of eighteen that the only time the government, and people over the age of eighteen in other positions of power, will listen is when we don't do as we're told.
And for anyone who holds the view that it is wasting education, it is only one day a month off school as opposed to the years we could save if we manage to slow our effects on climate change.
What holds more weight in your mind?
To us, it's the only chance, and way, people under the age of eighteen have to influence what happens to our futures. We deserve to have a say.
What Have I Done?
I have been to one strike but, unfortunately, I couldn't make it to any of the others.
Last month, I did a litter pick with my school's eco-group on the field during lunch. It wasn't a strike as such since we didn't leave the campus and it was in our own time, but we did collect a lot of rubbish and we even had posters and chanted. We attracted the attention of some students on the field and gathered a few extra pairs of hands along the way, if only for a few minutes.
It was very much a direct action rather than a political one. It's debatable whether that counts as a strike or not since it is helping the environment but wasn’t causing disruption.
It was still positive, useful action though and although every little helps, just litter-picking is not the solution; what we really need is for the people in power to help lower CO2 emissions. After all, there's only so much rubbish we can clean up before most of it ends up back in the sea.
That's all for now but if you look hard enough, I'm sure you'll see me on the 28th of June waving a banner at Newcastle for this month's theme of votes at sixteen.
A bit about Liza
My name is Liza Pink Dangerfield, I am 15 and I go to QEGS, Penrith. I have always been interested in what is going on in the world and I love to contribute to any cause I see as positive.
I currently live in Cumbria but when I was younger I lived in Singapore. I loved it there and my parents and I immersed ourselves in the culture so I now know quite a lot about it after spending my young childhood with people who were born there, attending traditional festivals and eating Eastern foods like kaya (which I miss a lot). I also attended Armathwaite Primary School and had a fantastic start to my education there.
I now go to Youth Council, which is held once a month, and I hope to run for the Youth Parliament representative for my area. In school I also go to an eco-group run by a 6th-former at lunch time once a week and I chose French and German as two of my choices for GCSE subjects. I volunteer at a low/no-plastic, not-for-profit shop in Penrith called Another Weigh after school or at the weekends.