Posted: 17 Sep 2019 01:00 AM PDT
Looking back over the last year, the scale of student climate strikes seems to only be growing. A call from many of these young people is “Adults. Use your power!”
Young people are striking for their future. For political change that will put sustainability at the centre. Over the past year, millions of young people across the globe have participated in the #Fridaysforfuture school strikes. Protesting outside town halls and parliaments during school time, and making clear that the ‘business as usual’ approach regarding fossil fuel use and environmental degradation cannot continue.
However, this fight is not for young people alone. This autumn, young people are calling on adults to stand alongside them as allies in a global ‘Strike for the Climate’ on the 20th and 27th of September, along with a week of climate action. People in 150 countries have already signed up to get involved.
The Strike for the Climate campaign is encouraging adults and young people to work together in striking and raising awareness for the climate. But the campaign also recognises the complexity that such a strike poses for many people, with the organisers stating:
“Workers’ rights and labour laws vary hugely around the world, and not everyone can work, strike or be part of a union. On a grossly unequal planet, some of us can’t do without a single day’s pay, and some of us work for bosses who would fire us if we dared try.
So this leaves the question: what can individuals and churches do to be an ally to striking young people and support them, even if they cannot strike themselves?
Both #Fridaysforfuture and the September Strikes for the Climate are putting focus on the need for a new approach to the climate emergency, that is centred on human rights, equity and justice. There are many ways this can be achieved, striking among them, but there are other ways you can get involved as an individual, church, community or local organisation, to take a stand for the climate and support young people from around the world.
What can the church can do?
The church is a truly intergenerational space. We share in community with those of all ages, and all walks of life. Could you work to make space for your young people to speak and out and educate the adults in congregations as to why they feel passionately about the climate emergency?
To recognise the importance of their voices, maybe we need to step off the platform and offer young people our space. How could you be an ally by promoting, encouraging and championing the voices of young people to policy makers and society leaders? This can be especially powerful if you cannot strike yourself, but wish to stand alongside those that are.
If you are an adult who can attend a strike:
If you are an adult who cannot strike:
Striking in solidarity with your young people is an amazing thing to do. However, for the many adults who do not have the ability to strike there are many other things you can do to support the cause and raise awareness of the climate emergency:
If you are a young person:
Let your voice be heard! Share your reflections about the climate crisis with your church and community. Tell people why you are striking and why they should to. You could even take a look at getting involved with national movements, for example the UK Student Climate Network.
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If you are getting involved with the London Strikes on Friday, join us and friends at the Christian Aid Collective before for a prayer breakfast! You can find out more here.
All are welcome for a time of reflection, placard making and sharing food before an important day.
More useful links:
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