My experience of the Youth Strike 4 Climate in London

Written by Tamar Singer

When I first heard about the Youth Strike 4 Climate, I was excited, but a part of me didn’t really think it would actually happen. From past experiences, any secondary school student protests had led to a lot of talk but eventually fizzled out. I was somewhat doubtful of the impact, but with a growing awareness of the dire situation, I wanted to get involved.

This is what led me and a friend to a warehouse in north London on the weekend before the planned protest after seeing a call out on social media for a banner-making session. We didn’t really know what to expect, so were excited to see about a dozen teenagers - and a few younger children with their parents - already hard at work, and soon found ourselves covered in paint too. Interestingly, almost all of the participants were girls and young women.

When we found ourselves stuck for a slogan, we turned back to the person who had sparked this international movement, the 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. We were inspired by the Swedish student’s passionate and candid speeches and chose to use a quote which we thought summed up the movement: “Save the world by changing the rules”

Walking away from this session, we decided to spread the word as much as possible, hoping that at least a dozen or so from our school would join us. We could never have anticipated what happened next.

Doubtful of the headteacher’s support, especially during my GCSE year, I asked for permission to take the day off school. To my surprise, I got an immediate and very encouraging reply, which was a relief considering I had heard of several other local schools refusing this.

Meanwhile, the movement was taking off on social media, and what a few days earlier had been just a few rumours was now one of the main talking points of the school. By Thursday afternoon, hundreds of students were planning on going.

Arriving at Parliament Square shortly before midday on Friday, I was immediately struck by the energy and sheer numbers. As soon as you stepped out of the station you could feel the buzz of excitement and hear the passionate chants. It was also visually very impressive, with thousands of vibrant homemade banners. I’d been on demonstrations before, but this felt different. It felt empowering and meaningful, but also crazy in an amazing way. I was awestruck by being with so many like-minded young people.

For once, I felt like I actually had a voice, that I was a part of something that could actually make a difference.

— Tamar

But why is this so important and urgent? A recent UN climate report has given us just 12 years to cut emissions by 50% to avoid catastrophic and uncontrollable climate breakdown. By 2050, around 10% of the world’s population will be climate refugees due to crop failure and rising sea levels. Every day, 200 species go extinct, and, if we continue with the current level of over-fishing and pollution, there will be no fish left in our oceans by 2048. This is an emergency and it needs action on a mass scale.

Our generation will be most affected by this, and if we want change then we need to take direct action in order for the government to listen. Many of us are too young to vote, but this doesn’t mean we should continue to be ignored. As Greta Thunberg told world leaders at the COP24 conference in December, “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes…”

So it’s important that Friday’s strike is not a one-off. We need to keep demanding action and ensure the media doesn’t just go back to talking about Brexit and the royal family. Climate change goes beyond our borders, so we need to keep linking up with students from around the world. This is why the next protest on Friday 15 March is so important. There are actions planned across the globe, from Uganda to New Zealand, and from Belgium to over 60 cities in the UK.

If you would like to find out more about Youth Strike 4 Climate, check out or YouthStrike4Climate on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please get involved - it is only together that we can make meaningful change.

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