Views from the Global Climate Strike
20th September 2019
Did you see the Global Climate Strikes on Friday? Are you wondering how your business or organisation can respond to the climate and ecological emergency? We captured views from some of the thousands that went on strike in Bristol, which we share some of below, along with suggestions of what you can do to take climate action now.
On Friday 20 September, Youth Strike 4 Climate organised a strike in Bristol to demand climate action now.
The school strikes have been taking place throughout the country since 2018, sparked by Greta Thunberg, and this was the first time youth strikers were joined by adults in large numbers, including teachers, trade union members and community groups. Many businesses and organisations in Bristol allowed their employees to attend the strike or are holding climate action-themed events . The strike came at the start a week of global action across the world, with strikes in countries around the world, and a major UN climate summit taking place in New York on 23 September.
What Bristol’s strikers said about the role of businesses and other organisations?
“I believe in the science, I do believe that climate change is happening and I believe we have a very restricted timeline.” – Juliet
“I’m here to join in and sing with the inter-generational choir. Where I live now, in a retirement community in Bedminster, we get up and join activities and this is certainly one I like doing. [Addressing climate change] needs a determined effort, cooperation, working together with businesses to create cities that we can be proud of and know that they are safer for my grandchildren, great grandchildren and the new generation.” – Wilf
“We’re here to support my daughter, Grace. She is a passionate [youth activist] who has been giving speeches and writing poems about it all. It’s time [for change], isn’t it!” – Mark
“I’m here to support and witness this amazing event to be solidaire with all the young people.” – Aurore
“Grief [brought me here today], the idea that I haven’t seen a blackbird in three months… ” – Renee
“All businesses have to take responsibility for their carbon emissions, no matter how small they are, everybody can do something.” Yvon
“I work for a video production company and we received numerous emails urging us to join in. As a business, we decided the environment is really important to us… so we decided to come down. We’re here to join in and contribute to raising the level of awareness.” Stephen
“I like nature and I’m worried it’s all going to disappear, I don’t want that to happen.” – Raya
“[Businesses should] listen to what people are saying: our voices aren’t being heard.” – Maisie
“[I want businesses to] use renewable energy, stop using plastic and make commitments. Do that really soon.” – Gaynor
“I think there needs to be better reduction of single use plastic and increased public transport, especially in rural areas to help young people not have to buy cars.” – Annabel
“I am a huge fan of Greta Thunberg and [I want to see] positive change in every area of life – from business to sport to art. I want […] to see local people empowered and to look after our earth […] This is a huge emergency that needs vital action.” – Katherine
“We were encouraged to do this by our work… where I work supports this idea and I don’t have to make a sacrifice to be here.” – Kasper
“[I’m here to] show solidarity with the youth strikers in support of their continued and urgent activism, feeling inspired by all their hard work that they’ve put in in the last few months.” – George
“[We need] less ‘business as usual’.” – Sebastian
“We’re really short on time. We need to lobby the people who have the power to make real change in legislation. That’s why I thought I’d take a day out of my work to do this.” – Oliver
“This is the biggest problem that we’re facing as a species and as a planet so it seems irresponsible not to show up and demand some action… I work in the game industry and we can do a lot to reduce e-waste and also to use green energy. There’s a lot of low hanging fruit to take.” – Alexander
“[Employers could] incentivise behaviours that encourage good action towards climate change and lack of pollution” – Jacob
“I run CSE’s Bright Green Futures programme… The more that we can expose all generations to climate emergency the better. It’s about being supportive […] whatever we can do to get the message out is a good thing” – Roy
“There’s already people in Bristol who are taking [the right] steps so it’s the case of continuing that good momentum. At the moment those changes are quite small scale but it’s [about] building on that.” – Nick
“The world is burning, literally, physically burning and I don’t think that the government or anyone is doing nearly enough about that […] I would like people, especially the food industry, to stop wasting so much.” – Olivia
“I feel like I need to educate myself a bit more about what’s going on, what I can do personally and I want to show support for my kids [..] I’m really proud of them to have done it for themselves and to ignore us adults who are supposed to know what we’re doing and to know better. [But] you’ve got to find a way of appealing to people that makes them want to give up their normal daily routine […] I think we’ve got all the solutions though, it just comes down to money and making it easier for people.” – Melanie
What can you and your business or organisation do?
We produced a primer for businesses and organisations considering declaring a climate emergency. It outlines what declaring a climate emergency might mean for your business or organisation and some suggested first steps. It also features the steps that Partnership members such as We The Curious, Greenhouse PR, the University of Bristol and University of the West of England, Bristol have taken.
Some 200 people at our gathering in March brought almost 600 actions for accelerating progress towards a carbon neutral Bristol. These covered our home, our community and our workplace. Check out our report and summary for some useful ideas of actions for you and your business or organisation can consider.
This is an emergency – an emergency that we can address, if we have act now. We are creating and sharing these resources to catalyse action. To become carbon neutral every business, organisation, community and citizen in the city will need to get involved.
Whatever stage your business or organisation is at in its journey to carbon neutrality, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you are interested in a workshop on how to be more environmentally sustainable in your business practices, let us know about that too!