Interview with youth #climate striker Lillia Adetoro #YouthStrike4Climate #Manchester

[Update- see Lillia’s blog about the April 12th Climate Strike]

Lillia Adetoro kindly answered questions about her climate change and environment activity. She has a video channel and a blog .

Which of the strikes have you been on?  What was your favourite thing about them? 

I have been on the National strike in February and the Global Strike in March and am going to the strike tomorrow on the 12th of April.
And from the beginning of February I’ve been going to Fridays for Future protests outside the town hall every week. I hand out leaflets and talk to people about climate change and ask them to come along to strikes and help support us to show that people are worried about climate change and our future.
My favourite thing about the strikes is the support by other people, and we all have common if not the same goals. Supporting each other. The atmosphere is phenomenal especially because there are others like me, especially my age and it makes such a big difference to know I’m not alone in how I think or feel about the planet.
I don’t really like giving speeches  because I get nervous about what people might say or how they’ll react but they’ve been really supportive and it gives me confidence to keep striking.

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 first started learning about a year ago . I was walking through Oldham town centre and the council had a recycling stall trying to get people to recycle more. But when I asked why we couldn’t recycle yogurt pots and fruit tubs they told me that it was too expensive to recycle that grade of plastic, and it wasn’t worth it. I got a bit angry because I realised they just binned it. I talked about it on the way home with my mum and sister about how ridiculous that was as it looked like most things that could be recycled weren’t being.
Over the past year I watched documentaries like A Plastic Ocean and researched online and the more I did the more I found out about deforestation for palm oil, micro plastics, fast fashion, carbon emmissions and every thing we do that affects the environment around us.
I was worried after watching all those things and my mum told me we’d start small and make changes to help. Then she found out about Greta earlier this year and showed me a speech she made and about how she started to strike outside her Parliament building. We talked about protests and about how even though she was on her own at first it encourages others to join her and I wanted a way to tell others about climate change and what it was doing to the planet.
I then found out about Xiuhtezcatl Martinez an environmental and Indigenous Rights activist. He’s taking the US Federal Government to court for failing to protect the environment for future generations. I thought that what’s happening now with the Climate Strike only started with Greta. She started this what’s happening now but there have been young activist’s all over the world who have been speaking out for years, from those places in the world most affected by climate and environmental justice issues.  Like Timoci Naulusala from Fijji, Ridhima Pandey from India, and Mari Copeny, Little Miss Flint in America.
I researched about what I could do and found Fridays for Future. Mum searched Facebook and found their group and we decided to go along.  We then found out about Rising up! Manchester families and they helped to organise the first strike in February. It was Brilliant and so good to see I wasn’t alone.

 What next – there’s the next Climate Strike on April 12, and then…?

I’ll be at the Climate strike tomorrow the 12th and I will continue to go to Fridays for Future Protests. With the help of my mum I’ve been tweeting Manchester politicians and my local MP Angela Rayner (still not responded) about climate change because they are not doing enough. We have 11 years but the actions they want to take go past this and they are only interested in reducing carbon emissions by 2038 and that’s too little too late.
I’m still making changes at home reducing the meat we eat, getting rid of single use plastics, using public transport but it’s not enough because it’s Parliament and businesses that have the power to make changes and I think they have to step in to make changes. We have to put pressure on them. I know I’m only a kid and I know I need the support of adults to raise our voices. Adults have the power. So I’m going to keep striking, spreading awareness and pestering politicians and businesses to make those changes. If they don’t I think we need to hit them where it hurts because it’s all about money. We need to change what it is we are buying and where we are spending money so they can see it will be good for them still if they make these changes and hopefully if others do too then it can make a difference. But at the same time businesses are making changes but they are still bad for the environment. Switching from plastic to paper straws. It’s still paper that has to come from somewhere., And they’re still lined with plastic. Or Walker’s Crisp recycling their crisp packets. The amount they are able to recycle is tiny compared to what they make. So it looks good for business but it really isn’t for the environment.

Tell us about that song you sing! 

The song was for the first protest in February, we were all going to learn it but I wasn’t really interested then. But the more I’ve been listening to it the more it has meant to me. Because we need people to stand with us. Especially adults. Children aren’t listened to, like we don’t know what’s important but we do. I wanted to ask people to strike with us because this is so important the future of the entire earth and everything that lives on it is as risk.

This is the tricky one – what sort of help, advice and support would you like from your parents, existing activists, adults?

Parents can help by supporting their children to strike if they want to, and if they can’t because some schools are wanting to fine parents and some parents cannot get time off work and lose pay, then I’d say find another way to help them. Find ways to help them voice their opinions like tweeting their MP’s and writing letters to politicians to show they support their children and we need change. Because staying silent doesn’t help. What happens then is politicians say people aren’t interested. We have to show them that we are.
 Also for parents because they are the ones with power at home because they buy everything to start with. They need to make changes like buying some foods with no palm oil or sustainable palm oil. using reusable bags and cups for all the family, recycle and buy less single use plastic because most of it can’t be recycled. They have to get smart about what they are consuming.
Existing activist I’d like them to make information child friendly because some of the information I found talked down to me and other information I couldn’t understand the language and had to ask for help to know what it was talking about. I’d also like them to offer support in what young people can do that means something to them. I felt sad, angry and frustrated because I didn’t know how I could help. Until my mum found Fridays for Future. I had all this information and I knew that on my own, picking up litter or recycling wasn’t going to do it. I needed a way to focus what I was feeling, and I think older activist’s can help with that.
I think adults in general need to learn about climate change because alot don’t know anything about it but then say it’s fake news. I think programmes like Our Planet are good but the problem is if people watch programmes like that and still do nothing. We all have a responsibility to the planet and adults need to stop being negative and stop saying children will grow up to sort the problem out. That might be too late. Change is happening right now we don’t have time. And like Greta said our house is on fire. We wouldn’t just stand around and watch it burn, we’d do everything in our power to put that fire out.

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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2 Responses to Interview with youth #climate striker Lillia Adetoro #YouthStrike4Climate #Manchester

  1. Ayisha Adetoro says:

    Fantastic, keep up the good work!

  2. Pingback: Sharon Adetoro: How to Make the Movement More Inclusive? Do the Work! - Resilience

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