18 September 2019
The Youth Representatives and Youth President of the Methodist Church have released a statement to support those taking part in the day of action against global climate change on Friday, 20 September.
The Youth President and Youth Representatives of the Methodist Church are elected annually by the young people themselves at the 3Generate event, this year taking place in Southport in November. Together, the President and representatives ensure that the Church listens to and acts upon the opinions of its young people.
The statement is an emotional plea from today’s young people to act now on climate change.
“Children and young people are taking the lead in calling for those in power to take seriously the global climate emergency we face. It is becoming more and more difficult to ignore the science, which tells us that – if nothing changes – we, and other children and young people, will almost inevitably grow up to inherit a world where life on earth is seriously destabilised, with massive crop failures, increasing animal extinction, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought.”
The statement goes on to say that the key question is not the legitimacy of the strike but ensuring that young people are heard.
“We know that education and regular school attendance is important but the crucial question is not whether it is right or wrong to strike, but whether people are listening to what children and young people are desperately trying to say through these actions. Everyone has a responsibility to stand with children and young people and call – in whatever way their conscience dictates – for drastic change in society, as well as making any possible changes in their own lifestyles and choices.
“However people raise their voices – whether it be by joining the strike, writing to MPs, attending a demonstration or other means, we should all be connected by our commitment to prayerful action. So please, listen to children and young people – challenge others in your church and in Government to do the same – and consider how we can work together, and with God, to show transforming love to all creation.”
“The Methodist Church has always been a strong advocate for hearing – and taking seriously – the voice of children and young people. Those who are the elected representatives of our children and young people feel that this has never been more important – or urgent – than now. We stress that children should seek parental permission to join the strike and we would encourage parents to talk through the issues of actions, responsibility and consequences and also the consequences of who happens if we fail to take action.”
The Methodist young people and the Methodist Church stress that others under the age of 18, who wish to join the strike, should obtain parental permission. Parents assume responsibility for the safety of their children when not in school. For schools/teachers wanting to acknowledge the concerns of students but unable to condone a walkout, Christian Aid have produced an assembly exploring the issue that can be found here: www.caid.org.uk/schools/school-strike.