Thousands of schoolchildren across the UK went on strike for the climate on 15 February. These young people are taking a stand over the utter failure of their country’s leaders to address the climate catastrophe that’s engulfing the globe.
So, what response did they get from Britain’s supreme leader, aka the prime minister? They got a scolding, that’s what. Theresa May told them off for messing up teachers’ lesson plans.
In short, her response couldn’t have made their case for a strike stronger. And she fucked up her chance of ever winning the youth vote in the process.
The future can wait
These young people lit Britain up on 15 February. Inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, they walked out of school and protested to send a message to the government. Lots of messages, in fact. “You can have capitalism or you can have the planet”, was one. “There’s no planet B”, was another. Meanwhile, a further message was “Fuck Theresa May”.
If that one wasn’t apt enough before May’s comments, it certainly was after. Because a Downing Street spokesperson’s response to this inspiring display of concern for the planet we live on was:
Everybody wants young people to be engaged in the issues that affect them most so that we can build a brighter future for all of us. But it is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for.
That time is crucial for young people, precisely so that they can develop into the top scientists, engineers and advocates we need to help tackle this problem.
There couldn’t be a more perfect statement to prove how unfit May is to tackle this issue herself.
No, it can’t
However, other leaders appeared to grasp the fact that without action now, there’ll be no future for these young people. They seemed to get the notion, unlike May, that if the planet becomes uninhabitable then no-one will be on it to “develop” into scientists and engineers. So, they applauded the strike instead:
Climate change is the greatest threat that we all face but it is the school kids of today whose futures are most on the line.
They are right to feel let down by the generation before them and it’s inspiring to see them making their voice heard today. #SchoolStrike4Climate
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 15, 2019
It’s a cause for optimism, in an often dark world, that young people are taking a stand on climate change. @scotgov is a world leader but, given the urgency, it is right that we are all challenged to do more and that we hear the voice of the next generation. https://t.co/NJOMuN649Q
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) February 15, 2019
This attitude is exactly why young people are on #schoolstrike4climate.
Teachers work hard to prepare children for their futures – but right now those futures are at real risk.
If the possibility of the end of life on Earth isn't a good enough reason to miss lessons, what is? https://t.co/4lNZwYmN7u
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) February 15, 2019
As a 2018 UN report showed, the time for climate ‘advocates’ and action is now. It says we need to dramatically change course within the next decade or we’re heading for an absolute environmental disaster. A brief glance at the news on any given day shows that we’re already halfway there. As the Guardian recently reported, Queensland has just suffered “an environmental massacre of mammoth proportions”, wiping out much of the region’s wildlife and farm animals, due to extreme weather; insects, on which we depend, are dying off at record rates; Chicago experienced one of the coldest Januarys ever, while the Arctic was positively balmy by comparison.
For those reasons, and tons more, we should be celebrating what these young people are doing. The fact that May can’t understand this proves how unfit she is to lead us through this climate catastrophe.
Featured image via Guardian News/YouTube
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