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Strikes urging governments to take immediate action on climate change take place on campus and in town
This week, people in over 150 countries took part in climate strikes, demanding an end to the use of fossil fuels. Lancaster hosted two such strikes on Friday 20th September: one in Alexandra Square and another in Dalton Square. Combined, these events received over one thousand participants.
Strikers busied themselves with speeches, handing around leaflets, forming a human globe, and the yelling of various chants, including, “No more coal, no more oil, keep the carbon in the soil.” and “Climate change is not a lie, do not let our climate die.”
Lancaster Youth For Environment (LYFE) took part in the strike in Dalton Square. Before the event, we asked them why. “LYFE is striking as part of the general strike for climate – called for by Greta Thunberg and youth strikers (including us) around the world […] We are striking today to ask for concerted collaborative worldwide efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions […] We call on all those who represent us, all those in positions of power politically, financially and corporately to act. To place climate change at the top of the agenda locally, nationally and globally and make significant steps toward reducing emissions in line with the most recent IPCC report calling to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.”
The IPCC report they refer to was released on 8th October 2018. Its primary finding is that “limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being”. Additionally, it states that this target can be achieved, but only with “deep emissions reductions” and “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”
Bailrigg FM covered the strikes
Bailrigg FM spoke to Millie from LYFE about the difference between the strike on campus and the one in town, “We are a group called the climate emergency steering group. We launched a campaign to ask the University to declare a climate emergency […] We decided to […] organise a global strike for climate event at the University to promote the petition and also to be in support and solidarity with the youth strikers across the world, especially LYFE […] in town.” This petition on change.org asks Lancaster University to declare and respond to the climate emergency.
Following her involvement in the petition, Millie Prosser, along with other students (including those from local schools and colleges), founded LYFE. She made a speech on campus outlining the motives for the strikes, “We are here today participating in the biggest global demonstration on climate change the world has seen. Our demonstrations send a clear message that we want those in power to work collaboratively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by thinking globally and valuing the future as much as the present.”
Branch Secretary for University and College Union at Lancaster University Emily Heath also gave a speech on campus. She spoke about the same petition on change.org. “We aim to submit that petition to University management in October after we’ve had a chance for undergraduates to sign it […] we’ll be demanding radical, urgent action on the climate and ecological emergency […] everybody needs to do as much as they can to solve this crisis before it gets any worse.” Heath alluded to the great power and influence of universities which, according to her, makes them great candidates for “solving the climate crisis”.
Bailrigg FM spoke to two representatives from Lancaster University Students’ Union:
“I think it’s a really great turnout and not being apathetic towards global warming. They’re actually using their voice to make a positive change.”
“I think it’s really important that environment is put back on the political agenda. It’s not a myth: it’s happening. We need to save the planet and we don’t have long.”
The global strikes on 20th September were the largest in history, with over 4 million participants. These strikes will continue until 27th September.
More photographs from the day
(All courtesy of SCAN’s Head of Photography Catherine Rose)