On Friday 20th September, the young Global Climate Strikers invited adults to show their support by marching in solidarity in towns and cities around the world to ask politicians to act on the climate emergency.
At the Bristol Climate Strike I heard inspiring young speakers from the movement and the Youth wing of Extinction Rebellion. I was heartened to hear their passionate commitment to representing the voice of the young and holding our politicians to account.
On the march I saw people from across many generations. There were whole families marching together. One young boy, walking past a queue of cars that ground to a halt, approached a car driver and politely requested he turn his engine off. Everyone cheered.
I loved the signs and placards that dominated the skyline. One man’s sandwich board said ‘Respect existence, or expect resistance.’ As we walked past offices, groups of workers spilled out and joined us, and others hung out of their windows offering us support. I walked behind a samba band, and we all danced happily to their tune.
I passed some young women wearing beautiful clothes that – according to their sign – were from their own sustainable fashion design business. They were there to raise awareness of the ills of our throw away fashion society.
One group had fashioned a huge Papier Mache elephant puppet to highlight worldwide biodiversity loss, and I spotted some academics from the Cabot Institute – if anyone knows the full extent of our carbon emergency, those guys do.
As we returned to College Green, I passed the statue of Queen Victoria, now sporting an Extinction Rebellion flag. There were one or two nay-sayer but most of the drivers temporarily inconvenienced were sympathetic to our protest. Lots of marchers chatted to them, many of whom accepted postcards and stickers and displayed them in their car windows.
I came away with a real sense of hope. Everyone was friendly and positive. I met lots of interesting people who are all committed to making changes in their own lives and agitating for political change. I felt proud that we adults were lending our support to the youth of the world. Maybe, just maybe, together we can do this!
This article was first published in the Keynsham Voice – October 2019