On Friday the second large scale Youth Strike 4 Climate took place in cities across the world and the first time my hometown of Derby took part. The school children involved united and joined the global movement by occupying the steps of Derby City Council and went on an impromptu march through the town centre. There must have been just under 100 teenagers from at least four different schools and a few primary school children demanding changes to the political and economic system that has caused Climate Change. The protest was emotional for some of the adults who walked past with one woman telling me she was close to tears when she heard the passion of the children chanting ‘Who’s Future? Our Future’.
It was not only those walking past who showed there support many bus and van drivers honked there horns in support which I found interesting given the popular right-wing narrative that Climate Change is an elitist concern. At one point I took a short walk around the area to hear the response of those in town. I heard so many people discussing ways to tackle the threat and many conversations about how the older generation should have do more. Unfortunately there was one person who approached the demonstration and got offended by an anti-Trump sign. He asked me why Trump was racist, sexist, and homophobic when I gave him examples he became defensive and began raising his voice which is when multiple protesters joined our discussion.
With informed arguments, strong conviction, and passion told the man why he was wrong to support Trump and why he is detrimental to the Climate all while defending Muslims, the LGBTQ community and each other. He eventually walked away after arguing that the protest was unnecessary and asking the 14 year-olds in front of him why they don’t vote.
After this brief moment of antagonism I was able to speak to some of the students I was impressed with the passion and knowledge not only regarding Climate Change but also their stance on interventionist wars, media bias, austerity, and inequality. They know what politicians globally claim not to; all of these issues are interlinked and they demand a progressive program that addresses them. It was clear that this will not be the last time these teens protest one student told me she loved the protest and that she felt empowered protesting with her fellow students and that this protest had motivated her further to make changes to the world.
It was a great day and I can’t wait to join them again next time.