It is Friday the 15thof February.
College Green in absolutely packed; overhead are hundreds pf placards; the water and ramps in front of the council house are thronged. The air is full of chants of ‘our planet, our future’ and ‘what do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!’ fill the air. And about 95% of these people are kids.
This was the ‘Student March 4 Climate,’ an event organised by a Bristolian schoolchild to demonstrate to the government, the council and the world in general that we students care about our future. Everyone at the protest had either walked out of lessons or refused to come to school to show that we are prepared to miss a day of our education and lower schools’ attendance rates in order to show that, if the government does not act, we will have no future to study for. Putting off action or justifying inaction will not do, we said.
It started with us all assembled on College Green at 11am, and various speakers delivered speeches through a pa system, all to often drowned out by cheers and chants. At 2pm, we walked out onto the bottom of Park Street and sat down. Bang in the middle of the road. I could not but have a sneaking suspicion that the mounted police officers sympathised with our cause as they were secretly smiling and did nothing to try to uproot us.
After about an hour, the assembled police cars moved off, realising they could not do much, and with victorious whoops we followed them. This turned into an unprepared for march, right through the centre, then round Cabot Circus and the start of the M32, back through the centre, up Jacobs Wells Road, up to the downs, then back down to the Council House where we trooped up the ramp and gathered at the top, where older students proceeded to tape one of the placards to the statue in front of the doors.
I am pretty sure this made an impact. Although the government criticised our actions, it cannot have failed to show how much the younger generation cares about its future. But it does not stop here. We can all make small changes, as well as convincing the authorities to make big changes, which will combine to create a new way of life in which we treat our planet as our home, not our slave.
photography: Pearl Johns