The Speaker
Sunday, 21 July 2024 – 08:30

UK youths protest against climate change – is the government really not doing enough?

The issue again of climate change has been initiated and gained momentum over the globe – though what makes this one different is that it is led by the young people of today. 

The UK climate strikes

Inspired by Greta Thunberg’s #FridaysForFuture climate action movement, Holly Gillibrand, 13 and many other young people, predominantly students deliberately missing classes in the UK have also jumped in on the global movement that has also spread and inspired children across Germany, Japan, Australia, Switzerland and many more. They insist that climate change is a pressing issue that has priority over getting detention or being in trouble in school for standing up for what they believe in. Please click here for our full report on the story.

Currently, as it stands, teachers are also set to join in on the strikes and have raised the awareness of MPs in the UK. Michael Gove who was former education secretary but now environment secretary is set to meet the pupils who protested against the issue. He believes it is a very compelling and attractive movement.

However, there has been lots of contention also met with this issue from Ofsted and education secretary, Damian Hinds criticising that it will delay the curriculum as teachers will have to do even more to keep up with lost hours of teaching. Likewise, Prime Minister Theresa May, as well as Jeremy Corbyn, were critical of the issue causing disruption to teaching.

Is the government in the UK doing enough to tackle climate change?

The UK is one of the leading countries in the world to tackle the climate change problem. It reports since 1990, emissions have cut by over 40% which is the best progress made by any other G7 Nation. Last year the UK also published a Clean Growth Strategy on how the UK could benefit from low carbon economic opportunities through news businesses to create jobs in the UK.

Recently MPs have also pledged to ban gas and boilers from new homes in the trajectory of six years; by 2025 they propose this ban to be fully implemented. Instead, the Committee on Climate Change request super-efficient houses fitted with low-carbon energy. This is because 1/5 of greenhouse gases constitutes the amount of energy we use in our homes, and as a result, burning gas for heating and hot water contribute a lot to those emissions. It is also alleged that the “UK has reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation”.

What more should be done?

So if the UK is playing such a significant role with their strategy, why have pupils such as Holly Gillibrand felt the need to take action? She argues that it is an urgent crisis that is not being addressed enough by our political leaders, leading the next generation to fearful of what is to come for the future. They campaign for climate truth for schools, and to be a topic of educational priority. Teachers and students also claim that the Paris agreement to make climate change an educational priority has not been implemented hard enough, rather it is treated as a peripheral subject.  Greta Thunberg has joined many talks, conferences and summits and demands more to be done as right now leaders have put this issue to the side; she argues that climate targets need to be doubled and the agenda of climate change needs to be resurfaced more importantly with actions that can allow us to see a change in our environment. Furthermore, scientists also worry about the issue as targets have not been met with a 1.5C of warming.

How can we ameliorate the climate problem?

Adriana Opromolla said, “Transformation is possible, but political will is needed to make it happen.”. It seems like engaging in the political is the only way through such a problem. But is it? If you don’t have time to pick up a placard and protest, put pressure on industries as a consumer and reach out to your local MP – there are still things you can do. A study published in 2017 by Nicholas and Wynes said that going car-free was one of the most effective actions someone could take as using cars contributes to harsh polluting. Furthermore, potentially investing in renewable energy is also effective, and is not as expensive as it may seem; the BBC reports it will be cheaper than burning fossil fuels by 2020. Other domestic activities also include cutting meat consumption, reducing flying on planes as your travel route, shopping wisely and many more are effective ways to contribute positively to the environment.  

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