On 20th September, I, along with thousands of Leeds’ youth and workers, joined the Climate Strike to demand that this government take the climate crisis seriously, and address it with the urgency that it requires. This is, after all, a crisis, and this government’s response has been, time and time again, to look the other way.
Whilst Conservative MPs have condemned the action, and others have attacked the movement for being hysterical, or worse, morbid, I was struck by the energy, creativity and hope amongst the strikers. It was so inspiring to see protesters, when faced with such a great challenge, meet it with such confidence and courage, whilst also being fully aware of the difficulty of the task ahead.
These protests are equally impressive for their global scope. It was amazing to see my fellow Labour MPs joins the Climate Strike protests around the country, and even more remarkable to see the extent of protests in the USA, in Germany, in India and especially across so many countries in Africa, where the climate crisis is already having such devastating effects.
This isn’t over though, as the people protesting in the Climate Strike well understood. Despite the outpouring of popular demand, this government still refuses to take steps toward a carbon-zero future, while paying meaningless lip service to their 2050 target. It is only a Labour government, propelled by an energetic movement like the one I saw on the 20th, that can take on the challenge of the climate crisis.