Last Friday was the first anniversary of the start of UK protests in the Fridays For Future movement, started by Swedish student Greta Thunberg. Since last year, the movement has grown significantly, with protests regularly occurring in cities across the UK, including Norwich. Last week’s strike saw thousands of students take to the streets, with several hundred here in Norwich, supported by parents and other environmental groups, like Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace. The strike also took place in 3000 towns and cities in 150 countries worldwide.
In Norwich the strike started with a march through the city centre, ending at the Forum. Here a number of speakers from different environmental groups, including Animal Rebellion UEA, discussed their reasons for getting involved with the strike. Students hope to use these demonstrations to raise awareness of the climate and environmental emergency, and put pressure on politicians to take action. UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), which is made up of the groups organising strikes in the UK, have four demands for the UK government. Save the future: create a green new deal to reach net-zero carbon by 2030. Teach the future: reform education to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis. Tell the future: communicate the same message to the general public. Empower the future: reform the voting system with proportional representation and lower the voting age to 16. Groups worldwide share similar goals, and have the strikes have no doubt had a significant impact on public perception and awareness of this issue. As incidents like the Australia wildfires draw attention to the severity of the situation, protesters hope politicians will wake up to the reality of the climate crisis and begin taking action in line with their demands.