Yesterday saw crowds marching through Bangor in protests supporting School Strike for Climate, a global movement pushing for action to be taken on climate change.
(for more information, see our main article at: https://www.seren.bangor.ac.uk/news-politics/local-news/2019/09/21/global-climate-strike-march-bangor-protest-takes-to-the-streets/).
Seren Bangor spent the march interviewing over 40 individual protestors to hear why they personally had taken to the streets. The following 10 interviews represent a cross section of those interviewees.
What has brought you here today?
- “I’m a medical student and you can’t just neglect climate change, and it’s getting worse by the minute and I think we’re getting to the point where unless we act now it will be irreversible. And I think that climate is health. I think the ‘Lancet’ recently said that climate change is one of the biggest threats to human health over the next century, so it’s really important that we act now.”
- “I’m here representing the children today, to support the children. I think they’re being dealt an unfair deal with the planet. It’s something that my parents protested for years back and nobody listened, and we have to keep that going, and the fact that we’re still here today protesting is shocking. The government is doing nothing reasonable to change.”
- “To show support and solidarity to my fellow brothers and sisters in the fight against climate change and capitalism’s destruction of the planet that we live on.”
- “We got the email coming around and clearly not everybody had received it via the university- I work at the university so it’s very convenient. We both have kids, and it’s for our kids, our kids’ kids and their kids’ kids. We’ve probably messed up quite a bit and it’s hard… There’s lots of things we can do ourselves but it’s great to feel a sense of camaraderie and community when loads of people come together and really begin to express a voice.”
- “We are striking against climate change to really show the government and show people that we’re here, that we care about the climate change, and that we want to make a difference.”
- “I’m a member of the local Extinction Rebellion group and we’re just keen to help the school kids in any way that we can and support their school strike march.”
- “My son is a student at Bangor and he studies zoology. To support his studies, he’s working- he is working today, because he needs his job, but I’m here to represent him. He tells me how grief-stricken some of the students are as they realise how much destruction is happening in the natural world- that young people are so grief-stricken that people are taking their own lives and so on. My generation, we left it to other people to take the power and make the decisions, and I really want to support the young people to know that they can all assume a shared authority and we don’t have to leave it to the types who want to run committees. It’s not the types who want to run committees and want to have power, it’s all of us. We need to all grow up and have our own authority and talk to each other, and that’s why I’m here today.”
- “I care about the climate and I want to strike for it because I don’t really want to see a bunch of species go extinct, and I don’t want my future kids or grandkids to be affected by it.”
- “I firmly believe we need to oppose capitalism and imperialism and colonialism in all forms across the world, in their globalised form, because it is killing our planet, with production, with exploitation around the world. We need stronger tactics to do it- the march is all well and good, and it’s very inspiring to see all these young people out, coming to express their opinion, but we need a clearer strategy about how we’re actually going to save our planet instead of just coming here and having a day out- which is all well and good but we need to have fiercer challenges to the way things are.”
- “In support of all these people leading what I think is essential energy and enthusiasm and giving people permission to actually do some something radical about the state of the world- not just climate change but all the ecosystems and our relationship with the world.”
How did you get involved in this movement?
- “It’s been very well publicised. Greta Thunberg being in New York has been helpful. There’s been protests all over the world, I think there has been a really good turnout in Asia and Australia already, so now that we’re in Europe and the UK we’ve to do our bit now.”
- “I’m not involved in any other capacity other than just being here today to make an appearance, to make up the numbers, and to show my support for the movement itself.”
- “I recognise that the world we live in is not in a very good place, that the people that run the world, the people that make the key decisions… they breed inequality, breed deprivation, breed pushing people down- and not just with people but with the environment, with everything really. All that the neo-liberal capitalist agenda is interested in is profiteering and making money and that’s at the expense of human beings and the environment in which we live. So it’s those things that have brought me out.”
- “I think it’s just a lot of stuff that you notice- I live in a village where we do litter picking, there’s just loads of rubbish. Our family has got two cars, why do we? I need to fly to visit my mother on a regular basis. There is just stuff happening in the world, so that at the moment it feels hard to escape how you do something, but we need to, we need to. We can do individual things but there’s also things we can do at a much higher organisational and societal level.”
- “There’s a lot of stuff on social media and things. Greta Thunberg is in the news quite often and she’s very inspirational because she’s our age- in the news she’s just everywhere and it’s just, wow, it’s amazing. She’s very inspirational to me.”
- “I’ve always been an environmentalist I guess- all my adult life. And when I heard about Extinction Rebellion, who gave a talk at the Botanic Garden last year, I thought that had an interesting strategy and it was worth a shot, so I jumped on board with it.”
- “My son, but also summers changing, what I see on the news about fires in forests and the mad idea of economic progress that just consumes the planet. It’s obviously wrong, it doesn’t make common sense and yet it’s so fundamental to the system. We have to find a way of running this world so everybody has some, so nobody has it all, we all need to have some.”
- “I was browsing Instagram and I saw a bunch of stuff about Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace and stuff like that, and I looked further into it and now I’m here.”
- “I saw a thing on Facebook. I thought it was a good idea to come, come with a sign, show support and solidarity even if it’s not necessarily, in my opinion, radical enough- because you’ve got to move with the crowd and try and steer people in the right direction.”
- “I’ve been campaigning on climate change since 1991, and then I gave up. I just felt really hopeless, and then with Extinction Rebellion and School Strike for Climate I just feel delighted there are so many people now recognising the state that we’ve gotten ourselves into. We’re taking ourselves out, all other species, we’re just destroying things for profit, and I just think the whole thing is totally insane. I think we’re realising that now- the old story of separation no longer works.”
Who do you believe is the most important audience for this protest?
- “A) The general public. B) Hopefully governments- not just our governments all around the world. And it might be nice to just see what other people think and what other people are here for. So just everyone really!”
- “The people that are denying climate change. People that have, for whatever reasons they may be, just are not admitting to the fact and not looking at the figures and not taking us seriously. We’re not just doing this to draw attention to ourselves, we’re doing this for a cause, and it’s a real, true cause that’s been going on for years and years and it needs to change now.”
- “In some ways I think the most important audience is all the people who are not here today, or the people who think that this is not their problem, or the people who think that this is something that happens within some sort of vacuum which doesn’t have a detrimental effect on every single persons day-to-day life, their ability to live, their ability to live sustainably, and in way which means that we can still have human life on this planet in 100, 200, 500 years’ time rather than just 50 years.”
- “We can make our own changes and we can begin to do that but I think it’s the people that have slightly more power than we, so council government, big industries, companies, need to begin to hear that we are up for different ways of living.”
- “I think it’s probably the governments around the world to be honest, because a lot of the governments have said that there is a climate emergency but they’ve not done anything about it. We had a girl that was up earlier that said it’s been six months since then and nothing has happened- it has in fact got worse. So, I think that’s the most important audience but, also, just to make sure that the people here know, because if we get the civilians in, and get them involved, the government are going to have to listen and they’re going to have to act.”
- “Speaking from an Extinction Rebellion point of view, and this is a School Strike for Climate event so I don’t want to put words into their mouths, but influencing policy-makers and the people that have got the power. I think for a long time the environmental movement has tried to influence individuals to change their lifestyles, in a system that is very much rigged against you if you’re trying to do that, and that hasn’t been so successful. So Extinction Rebellion is certainly aiming to get policy-makers to quite radically change the way in which our society is run, to make it a lot easier for people to live sustainably.”
- “I think every one person has to ask themselves. We certainly inspire each other and I feel really inspired by you youngsters. We need to inspire each other. We need to encourage the oldies, like me- I’ve never been on a march before, but it really matters and I should have been before now. But ultimately it’s for each person to take responsibility and work with the person next to them. So who is it for? It’s for myself and everybody else.”
- “I’m hoping mainly the government will listen. I’m a firm believer in the fact that a small person can make a big difference.”
- “Audience is an interesting point. Audience is useful because it’s good for people to know and know that other people care so they feel confident enough to get out and do things themselves, but also the audience needs to be not just other people, we need to send a message to the power structures that currently exist in society, like the police, like capital, because they need to know that we will cause trouble for them unless they listen to our demands, unless change comes soon.”
- “I think the most important audience is not really an audience, but for all of us to feel we’re part of something and we can do stuff. So, yes, we can ask councils to do stuff, but really if any of us look to our local area, we can do things that actually improve the resilience of ecosystems, or just take action in terms of buying less, or build community or renewable energy schemes and stuff like that. We all need to play our part no matter what role we’re in.”