• Climate Strike Leicester

The Individual v. Industry

The following is the speech delivered by Lucia Guzy-Kirkden at the May climate strike.

Climate change is not only an environmental catastrophe, but a moral crisis. One in which those who are least responsible will suffer first.

How can we change the morals of a civilisation? How can we defy the take-all, give-nothing-back agenda of a planet run by industry? How can we protect the least responsible? We must fight back against those who are the most responsible. That means the oil and clothing industries.

Oil companies like Shell who support corrupt governments and seize land in the global south, where they poison the water, the atmosphere, and give nothing back to the local communities except clouds of pollution. Or, from the second most polluting industry in the world, clothes companies like GAP who use toxic chemicals, burn clothes and are responsible for the billions of waste clothes rotting in landfills.

These businesses conceal their crimes with media campaigns, some attempting to discredit climate change entirely. They are to blame for climate change being a controversy, and for politicians publicly denying mainstream climate science without any repercussions.

Industry has power. May's government received nearly £400,000 funding from oil tycoons, and in return she continues to support fossil fuel companies. In the US, the government is the oil industry.

The oil industry wants large-scale plastic production, they want transport run by fossil fuels, and they have the power to get what they want. When industry's only goal is ever-expanding growth, profit is the only measuring stick, so destroying our planet is written into their framework.

As long as we continue to play into their hands by electing politicians who rely on big business for funding, climate change will not be taken seriously. This was proven at the 2018 climate change summit, where the best our world's governments could come up with was promising to keep below 2 degrees of warming, when anything above 1.5 will make climate change irreversible.

So, what can we do when our leaders are puppets for the worst polluters? How can we take back control from the polluting industries that have all the power?

We must expose them, and challenge the media which amplifies their views in the name of balance and sensationalism.

We can refuse to fund these dirty industries. We can break away from mainstream clothes stores, buying from second-hand or sustainable independent shops or just being content with what we already have. We can avoid plastic products, opt for the reusable options. Considerate consumerism is rebellion. Because this is the positive of living in a consumer society- we get what we want because without us commerce is nothing. We drive our society, so, we have the power to change it.