Striking like a 16 year-old: Why I took to the streets for the climate

After being shocked by a 2018 UN climate report, I decided to turn my worry into action. I joined other Greenpeace volunteers at the youth-organised Climate Strike in London last Friday, and then got involved with my local Greenpeace group.

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I’ve been a supporter of Greenpeace for over three decades, but I only became more active recently. As a mother of two adult sons, I’ve been worrying about climate change for years, and have had a guilty conscience about our family’s carbon consumption. 

The crunch point came for me when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published their 2018 report, saying that humans had 12 years left before we will have done irreversible damage to our planet.

That was the clearest message I’d heard, directly from the world’s top scientists, that we – and I! – have to act now.

Acting on this grave message by joining the Global Climate Strike

I don’t like crowds, so I have only been on one strike – and that was forty years ago! Despite this, I thought the event in London for the 20 September Global Climate Strike organised by young people was something I couldn’t afford not to support.

To ease myself in, I arranged to meet up with other Greenpeace volunteers who were there from across the UK. I dressed in mourning and it certainly got attention! 

Photograph of Greenpeace volunteer Nicole dressed in mourning at the London Climate Strike, with a sign reading "Strike like a 16 year-old" with around an image of Greta Thunberg.

Nicole dressed in mourning at the London Climate Strike, with a placard that was lent to her by another striker featuring 16 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The atmosphere was buzzing, positive and friendly. I felt really proud to be there, as part of a global strike that turned out to be the biggest of its kind in history! 

The speeches were passionate and hard hitting, and the whole day was a great opportunity to be with people who are actively devoted to climate justice.

Going from global climate striking to local group activism

I’ve since got involved with my local Greenpeace group – they’re a friendly bunch and I’m looking forward to doing more campaigning together. It is a great comfort to be collaborating with people who care passionately about the environment, and I feel like I’m helping.

In the last year I have noticed a huge change in attitude to environmental issues in all areas of life. You no longer have to be a keen environmentalist to understand – and want to do something about – the climate emergency.

The more of us that join together to make our voices heard, the more impactful we’ll be. I’ll be doing everything I can to help!

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