Last week Emma Greenwood gave this speech at the Manchester Climate Strike.
She kindly agreed to supply answers to some questions – the full interview is below.
Was today bigger than you thought? What was your favourite thing about it?
The strike ended up being drastically bigger than I expected. At first I thought it was going to be an event with a hundred or so of us and very little media coverage, that quickly changed. When I started posing about it online newspapers and radio stations started getting in contact asking about why I was taking part and what I hoped to achieve, which filled me with hope that it would be a much bigger and more impactful event than I had first expected.
By far my favourite things about the event was the atmosphere and the people that were there. Its not often I meet so many like minded young people who all feel as passionately as I do about protecting our future. Everyone was so supportive when I was speaking and it just felt like we were all at home. The fact that we felt like that, made it so much easier to come together and unite in protesting for a better future.
When did you first start learning about climate change – was it in school, from your parents? Did Greta Thunberg have a part to play?
I’ve always been very involved in protecting our environment, in primary school I was an avid member of the eco and gardening club. I think my parents have always inset in me the view that the planet we live on is not something we should take for granted.
Greta Thunberg however truly showed me just how much we have to fight for. The fact that she gave up so much of her time protesting for the protection of our future truly put across to me just how much danger our planet is under. As soon as I saw Greta doing that, I knew I couldn’t let her do it alone. The only way we are going to cause the change we want is if we come together.
What next – there’s the next Climate Strike on March 15, and then…?
We will continue, this is not a one time event. To make the change happen that we want to see it is going to have to be a global effort so we will continue to put pressure on those in power to put our planet first. We will continue to question companies that aren’t changing to more environmentally friendly options and we will continue to educate others on how they can reduce their impact on the environment.
In the long run, our aim is to protect our planet and the main way we are going to do that is through education. When people begin to think about the environmental effects of their day to day life, they will begin to make more conscious decisions.
This is the tricky one – what sort of help/advice/support would you like from your parents, existing activists, adults? How is that best offered (I call it the POG problem – “Piss Off Grandpa/Grandma”)
I would love for adults to realise just how much pressure their day to day lives is putting on our future. Whilst I fully understand having a low impact on the environment is very hard, reversing the effects of pollution will be even harder. It is about so much more than just your life. We need you to help us in demanding a greener now so we can, in hand, have a greener future. We need to start being the change we want to see. The attitude that it wont effect you isn’t the right one to have, do you want to have to explain to you child what a polar bear was?
We simply need you to support us in our bid to protect our future. We need you to stand by us and support us in our view that the protection of our future is the most important thing.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the strikes all across the world. I can’t express how much it means to me, and I am sure so many others, that people are willing to stand up and demand a greener future. This is not a one time event, we need to continue to put pressure on those in power to demand they make the future of our planet their upmost priority.