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This year the world stood to attention when thousands of young people went on strike for the planet. Inspired by Greta Thunberg’s personal protest over 2000 events were initiated in over 125 countries across the world, with hundreds of thousands of young people marching to make some noise about climate change.
 
We spoke to Katie Riley, the 16 year old student responsible for organising the Youth Strike in Birmingham that attracted almost 1000 young people.

  1. What first inspired you to take action against climate change?

I think it was when I first realised how much it not only affected other countries but also how it would affect me, and those around me. I began researching about the topic because what the curriculum at school teaches you is vague and hard to understand. It was once I began researching that I found out how dangerous climate change actually was (much more than I ever initially thought) and it terrified me how little the government was doing about it.


  1. What motivated you to organise the Youth Strike against climate change in your city?

The lack of concern from the Government was the main motivation for striking. We as young people don’t have a lot of say in politics, so it’s so important to use our voices to tell our council what we want and show how important it is to our generation. Birmingham, as a city, is one of the main contributors to climate change in the UK and it is imperative that we try to make a change before it’s too late. The wellbeing of my generation and the next is at threat, and it’s so important that we address problems now before our time runs out.

Photos taken during the Youth Climate Strikes in Birmingham

 

  1. What's your most memorable moment from the day?

My most memorable moment was shouting through the town center. It was really empowering to see the event come together as we were marching and creating noise and attention. Seeing students from all parts of Birmingham shouting about democracy and the need for change was amazing. The amount of support we had whilst walking and the determination on people’s faces was definitely very memorable.


  1. Finally, what would you say, or what would your advice be to other young people wanting to make a difference against climate change?

My advice is to contact your local councillors to show your support and your support for the movement.  It shows that a large amount of people care, which will inevitably make the councillors consider changing. I also recommend doing small changes in your lifestyle like becoming vegetarian, making your recycling more precise and getting more involved in your local area.

  

Whether you’re a student or not you can get involved in upcoming protest in your local area or ones on a national scale, check out what extinction rebellion are up to stay up to date on any protests coming up. The youth strikes were an amazing reminder that whatever your age you can use your voice to speak out against climate injustice and demand actions from those in charge. To Katie and everyone involved in organising a Youth strikes protest in their area, well done and thank you for using your voice as a positive influence for change!

 

 

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