As young people are more and more worried about their futures, we joined the climate strike in Bristol in solidarity with the millions taking to the streets worldwide in demand of urgent and meaningful action on climate change. We kept our buildings and services open for the day to ensure that no young people were unsupported. Our staff from across departments joined the march and followed the lead of young people. 

At the "We the 33%" event we held in the summer, Joe Hill, a young artist who we supported in his creative career, spoke about why he's passionate about the environment and how it has affected him as a young person. 



We took Joe's lead at the march and you can read his thoughts below.
 

Hello, my name is Joe. I'm a young musician and composer living and working in Bristol.

I wanted to write a short blog post about my experience at the general strike for climate on the 20th September. I felt fortunate enough to be able to take time away from work and other commitments to be involved in the strike, as I realise that this is not an option for many in Bristol. 

Firstly, I would just like to apologise to those who were greatly affected by the disruption caused from the march. I understand that there may be people out there who had to delay or cancel important health or pressing personal matters because of the strike. I hope they can sympathise with the overarching aim of the strike and do not feel personally targeted by the disruption.

The strike started with a mass gathering held on College Green. There were a number of speakers, mostly comprising of young people (under 25). They expressed their passion and determination towards inciting swifter action towards de-carbonisation and divestment in fossil fuels. I really admired these young people's confidence and ability to stand in front of the hundreds of people gathered and speak so clearly. The talks often placed an emphasis on the responsibility of the government, but they did highlight the importance of the individuals choices and actions, as well as businesses and organisations.

After these talks, people began gathering for the march, which would lead from College Green, down into the town centre, through Broadmead, past Cabot Circus shopping centre and back towards College Green via Baldwin street. The biggest thing that struck me during the march was the sheer number of people. At one point, the group I was with from Creative Youth Network paused to re-group while some new members joined the crew. As far as you could see down, and up the street there were people. Even after 20 minutes of being in the same place that was still the case.

A seemingly never ending train of people declaring their love for the planet and the life that is on it! That moment helped to reassure me that I'm not some fanatical and scaremongering eco warrior, but just an average person who's wanting to show that they're desperate to keep this planet healthy.

Attending the climate strike really helped to solidify the idea that this issue is no longer in the dark or just the circles of climate science. It is now widely in the public's eye, at least in Bristol, which feels like a healthy step towards making the positive changes required to limit global warming. I urge everyone reading this to continue to educate themselves and each other as much as they possibly can about this complex issue, and not to be complacent or think that the government will solve all. Ignorance gives politicians the space to fight old battles and not address today's pressing issues (climate change being a big part of these issues).

If we ourselves are educated then we can build and support ideas which are objectively positive for this planet.

You may be asking what can I do to learn more?

Here's a few starting points:

Read:

Atmosphere of Hope by Tim Flannery
How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee

Watch:

Our Planet (series)
An Inconvenient Truth 2

Learn:

Your estimated carbon footprint: https://footprint.wwf.org.uk

More about the impact of what we choose to buy: https://www.ethicalconsumer.org

More about seaweed farming: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/forests-of-seaweed-can-help-climate-change-without-fire/

Did you take part in the climate strike, by yourself or with the support of your organisation? What more can we do to support young people and make change happen, for our futures and theirs? Let us know in the comments below.