Emma Greenwood is a 15 year-old student from Bury. Because the “adults” have so fundamentally failed on climate change, she – and people like her – are having to step up and take action on climate change. She has written an open letter to councillors of Greater Manchester and to the Mayor Andy Burnham. In it she asks them to throw their weight behind the next Youth Strike, which is on Friday 24th May. The full text is below. It’s also available as a pdf and as an image (bottom of blog post).
Please send this letter to your councillors [find them here], your MP [find her/him here] and to Burnham [Twitter, email, facebook] as an email, tweet etc. Write to them (snail mail!!). Visit them. Please tell them to step up and act as if this is an emergency (because it bloody well is), and support the adults in the room – i.e. the children forced to go on strike.
Dear Councillors of Greater Manchester, and Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester),
My name is Emma Greenwood. I am a 15-year-old student who lives in Bury. I am writing to you on behalf of all young people to ask for your support in the upcoming “Youth Strike 4 Climate Action” on Friday May 24th.
As you know, it will be the fourth youth strike held in Manchester, in which young people from across Greater Manchester will walk out of school to make a statement that the safety of our future needs to stop coming second place. We will stand united with over forty other counties in the U.K. and many other countries across the world to demand change.
To quote Greta Thunberg, who has inspired us and given us the courage to act. “Why should we be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly means nothing to our society?”
So, this is why we will be on strike; not because we don’t value our education, but because we value the safety of our future – and that of children yet unborn – even more. For years activists older than us and our age have been going to council meetings, starting petitions and running school eco clubs but very little has changed. We want governments across the world to start putting words into action and seeing climate change as the imminent threat it is. Greater Manchester can and must do much more. The declaration in parliament last week of a climate emergency needs to be backed up with action.
We know that you have to balance many competing needs, but right now the decisions you are making do not appropriately reflect the immediate and drastic action that tackling climate change requires – the Mayor of Greater Manchester admitted as much at last month’s Green Summit.
We acknowledge that schools have a legal obligation around safeguarding of minors. We know that absences from school of “exceptional circumstances” is serious and can draw various punishments. We also know that these are exceptional circumstances, and the dangers we are faced with matter more. We ask you to stand with us, to understand that at this moment you have an opportunity to help support us in doing what is right, not to punish us. We would remind you that many actions taken by those fighting for Women’s Suffrage, one hundred years ago, were condemned as illegal by the politicians of the day. We now, of course, celebrate those who fought for the vote.
For these reasons, we ask that you allow students from the areas you represent to attend the strike, and help us in demanding the safety of our future. We simply want you to allow us to fight for the safety of our future, free of the dangers of punishment because of our fears.
If you wish to discuss this issue further I would love to hear your opinions and/ or oppositions to the involvement in the strikes. I am free to be contacted by email any time on firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Striker and Bury’s Youth MP