Why We are Striking
Updated: May 6, 2019
The following is a speech delivered by Imran Mulla at the April strike.
We are faced with death. It is no exaggeration to say this; many scientists have estimated that up to 70% of the human race may die out in the next century. We are entering the sixth mass extinction, and yet the questions we school strikers are asked by sceptical adults are all to do with the ethics of our protest.
We are asked why we think it’s acceptable to strike once a month, to miss out on lessons in order to protest about climate change. But really, that’s an odd question. We can either be sitting in classes that we can easily catch up on, or we can be taking part in the movement to stop what scientists are calling the sixth mass extinction.
The science around global warming is indisputable. The scientists have told us the problem and they have also told us what the possible solutions are.
We are striking, quite simply, to show the government that we do not think it is acceptable for only forty out of six hundred MPs to show up in parliament for the debate on climate change. We are striking to show the government that we, the younger generation, will not sit idly by whilst our planet is being destroyed.
This is a battle between the economic system and the ecosystem, between science and ignorance, between survival and possible extinction.
Our critics tell us it is irresponsible to leave school to protest, but is it not irresponsible to turn a blind eye and do nothing? They tell us our education is more important, but what point is there in preparing for our future if we won’t even have a future? They tell us there are other ways to make ourselves heard, but no one will listen if we sit down and do as we’re told. We cannot just pretend that it is business as normal. We cannot go on living like this, and we certainly can’t solve this just by changing our individual lifestyles because this is an institutional problem.
The mainstream conversation should not be revolving around whether children should be missing a day of school each month, but rather around the fact that civilisation cannot survive an economic system which is geared towards short term profit with no regard for the effect on the natural world.
The governments of the world have to come together to take drastic action now, and we as young people in a country where protest is a legal right have a moral duty to pressure our government to do what is necessary. We young people don’t have the vote, and we don’t have many ways of collectively expressing ourselves, which is why this strike is a moral imperative. We shouldn’t have to be in this position, but we are left with no other choice. We have to strike – for our future, but more pressingly for the thousands of people all around the world dying each year because of this climate crisis.
Let it be recorded in history that Leicester put up a fight, that our city was a part of the movement to save the planet.
Will our strikes actually lead to meaningful change? I have no idea. No one does. But what we do know is that resistance is the last tool we have with which we can save ourselves and our planet. And if we fail and we are unable to combat the climate crisis, at least we’ll have gone out fighting.