500 young people from across Birmingham strike to protest climate change
Hundreds of students flooded the city’s streets
Hundreds of students took to the streets of Birmingham on Friday to protest the lack of action being taken to combat climate change. The protests took place in over 60 UK towns and cities, with thousands of students participating nationwide.
The marches were organized by School Strike 4 Climate, a campaign initially founded by Australian students who wanted to 'tell our politicians to take our futures seriously and treat climate change for what it is – a crisis'. The movement has since spread to over 100 countries.
In Birmingham, over 500 school children and university students attended the demonstration in Victoria Square, taking to the stand in order to express their disapproval towards current environmental policies.
GCSE student Jess Ranford spoke to I Am Bham and said: 'Clearly no one else cares, and every single person that came today shows that someone does … in chemistry we learn that we have 12 years until the changes are irreversible and the teacher just brushes over it … it shouldn't be like that'.
UOB's very own Fossil Free organization was also present at the event. They had this to say:
'This week's Climate Strike was a huge success with over 50 UoB students and a number of environmentally focused groups represented.
'It was great to see such a high turnout as we marched through the city centre and occupied Victoria Square along side 500 other students and school children from across the city.
'MP Jess Philips and a cross party group of councillors were present, who were positive but urged that more must be done to address the concerns being raised by the young people now leading this conversation.
'UoB Fossil Free are demanding total divestment of university money in Fossil fuels companies and non-ethical investments, and we felt that the strike on Friday was totally inline with our collective purpose, with the goal of lobbying Birmingham City Council to declare a climate emergency.
'We hope that this demonstration of commitment will send a message to politicians, as well as our own university executive, and will result in decisive action being taken.'
UOB Fossil Free are currently campaigning for the university to end its investment in the fossil fuel industry, citing how 69 other UK universities have already committed to doing so.
In an open letter penned to Professor Sir David Eastwood, they state: 'The University is well positioned to contribute to strategies for counteracting climate change at technical, political, economic and social levels. The Green Heart Project and the Green Community are excellent examples of the University’s commitment to local, environmental sustainability. However, the University’s continuing investment in the Fossil Fuel Industry, with an estimated £5.9m invested in Shell and other companies, undermines the University’s position, at the forefront of renewable development, and commitment to sustainability.'
The letter can be signed here.
Local politicians have also come out with support for the students taking action.
— Liam Byrne (@LiamByrneMP) March 15, 2019
As the environment cabinet member @BhamCityCouncil, thank you to @bhamys4c hundreds have turned up to campaign against climate change – yp feel the impacts of climate change much more so than previous generations, we owe it them to treat this issue as a priority #Strike4Climate pic.twitter.com/iXFrz1P5Pl
— Waseem Zaffar (@WaseemZaffar) March 15, 2019
Great turnout for the #Strike4Climate in Birmingham today. Great to see so many young people taking action for the future of the environment. @BhamCityCouncil and HM Government must do more on this vital issue. pic.twitter.com/fIvmh2cIw0
— Roger Harmer (@rogerbhx) March 15, 2019
The marches come following the release of a UN report detailing how 'human influence has become a principal agent of change on the planet', and that a global temperature rise of 1.5°C would cause 'irreversible' damage.
The report states that 'large-scale transformations of the global energy-agriculture-land-economy system' is required in order to reduce our carbon emissions and avoid such a rise.