Jeremy Corbyn and others
Fri 15 Mar 2019 15.01 GMT
Siân Berry, Green party: Youth strikers know the planet can’t wait
‘The chancellor kept quiet about his devastating cuts to Natural England.’
Hope. That was what I felt when I entered Parliament Square last month to be greeted by hundreds of young people at the first Youth Strike 4 Climate in Britain. That day one young person carried a sign that read: “We are missing our lessons to teach you.” The question now is whether Westminster will listen to the wisdom of youth.
Last year the UN warned we have a limited window of opportunity until 2030 to take positive action to limit climate catastrophe. Since then, councils across the country have declared a climate emergency with many committing to gold-standard climate action – often prompted by Green councillors. But parliament is still dragging its heels.
This week, the chancellor tried to fob off the rising tide of youth activism with token policies that don’t go far enough. He said he plans to make travel companies offset carbon, yet is still building new runways. He talked about biodiversity, but kept quiet about his devastating cuts to Natural England. And his government is doing nothing to break the toxic hold fossil-fuel bosses have on our lawmakers.
Youth strikers across the world know the planet can’t wait. I’m proud it’s my colleague in parliament, Caroline Lucas, demanding the government launch a Green New Deal with money ploughed into thousands of new green jobs and transformed local energy and transport networks. If ministers are serious about securing the planet for our children, they will act now.
As a Green elected to represent millions of young Londoners, it’s amazing to see them make these demands of me and my political colleagues. It will be a privilege to stand beside our young people again today as they strike for their futures – I implore those in power to listen to their demands.
• Siân Berry is co-leader of the Green party
Adam Price, Plaid Cymru: Time is running ou
If I were a school pupil today I would be striking against climate change and would make sure the whole school was striking with me. The reason couldn’t be simpler: time is running out. Time is running out to make the changes to our way of life, how we produce and use energy, how we travel around this Earth, how we build and warm our homes, how we use our natural resources.
The threat is bleak: whole states disappearing underwater because of increases in sea level; not just more drought, but more starvation on an international level; widespread disappearance of species and an environment that is far more challenging to life on this Earth. We’re not just on the brink of ecological catastrophe, we’re in the middle of one.
But what I’ve seen so clearly by these school strikers so far is that from speaker after speaker, young person after young person there is such an outpouring of eloquence, of vision, of positivity. To stand up and fight for the Earth is the noblest of all causes. Climate change faces humanity as a whole. It should be the main discussion across chambers, but Brexit has sucked the oxygen from our politics. It feels as if we should skip a generation in politics. Young people are demonstrating the vision and determined leadership to make is possible to make significant and swift progress towards a low-carbon existence. To follow their lead means that we can’t wait until Westminster wakes up. We all must be brave.
The small town of Machynlleth in mid-Wales has been one of the very few towns in the world to declare a climate emergency, with ambition to make its buildings eco-friendly, encourage renewable energy developments and ensure its pension fund divested from fossil fuels. What got Machynlleth to make the commitment? It was a petition signed by 500 local people; a small community-sized step with a worldwide impact.
• Adam Price is leader of Plaid Cymru