by Jessica Morely
As I arrived in London for an interview over the Easter holidays I was greeted by a pronounced pink boat as I emerged from the tube station. There was certainly an air of anger surrounding the monument, despite all the singing and cheering. For a lot of young people, it is easy to feel that our future is never taken into consideration by politicians, who are overwhelmingly much older than us. Greta Thunberg stressed this view held by many young activists in her poignant speech at the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference, as she accused the older generations of ‘stealing their future in front of their very eyes’. Indeed, for many years we have been told repeatedly by scientists that we should worry about the future of our planet, whilst little has actually been done to combat the problem. I know I wasn’t alone in feeling a sense of relief when I saw the news that the UK had declared a climate change emergency as it felt like young people were finally being taken into consideration.
There is a definite concern that this move was made with the intention of only appeasing environmental campaigners, especially when you consider the recent news that the High Court has approved a third runway at Heathrow; this will definitely not help in reaching the demand of Extinction Rebellion that we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. It is also not encouraging that despite Extinction Rebellion’s talks with Michael Gove earlier this week, he refused to promise any kind of action. However, it is a sign that politicians are beginning to listen and engage with activists and reconsider their previous complacency.
Despite the apparent lack of a proactive approach from the government, this declaration is an important first step towards making a change; after all, acknowledging a problem is the only way towards tackling it. There is no concrete promise yet to act decisively to fix our climate, and there perhaps won’t be until our situation becomes dire.