Young Quakers hear Greta Thunberg speak at Friends house

A party of ten young Friends from Bristol, Bath and Sidcot meetings travelled to London to a lively and packed youth climate summit at Friends House on 22 April.

Two of the young Quakers, Pearl and Sam, introduced the event’s first speaker, Caroline Lucas, Green MP. She gave a very passionate and rousing speech calling us ‘to do everything that we can to protect the world we love’.

Caroline Lucas, then introduced the inspirational Greta Thunberg, celebrating that ‘she has shown us what the courage to take action looks like. She has shown us hope. Not false hope, not the kind of hope like a lottery ticket will have you sit on the sofa and clutch, but the kind of hope which is a rallying cry. Hope that is an act to break down doors in an emergency, the kind of hope that overcomes obstacles with clarity and commitment. The kind of hope that speaks the truth over and over again until people listen. There is hope all around us in the actions of people all around us who are change-makers.’

Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old Swedish girl who initiated the global ‘School Strikes 4 Climate’, with her lone strikes in Sweden last year and Anna Taylor, who initiated the London strikes gave dynamic inspiring interviews, followed by an energetic hour-long Q&A on climate issues and how to effect change.

Young friends described the talk as:

The event was organised by British Quakers with The Guardian and a range of environmental groups. Further reports are available here on the British Quakers’ web site, and here on The Guardian web site. To watch the full video, click here.

We also visited ‘The Wellcome Trust’, for a delicious lunch and a quick look at some of their exhibits, which provoked us think about the pharmaceutical industry.


Reflecting on what they’d heard on the train home, young people said:

‘It made me think about small things that I can do in order to make a difference. It made me want to put pressure on government to enact more change in a top down, system change way’

‘The speakers made me reflect not only on the issue itself, but also the necessary solutions to overcome the issue. Also made me meet new people I otherwise never would have.’

We returned weary after a long day, but inspired to connect more with one another, to find shared purpose and unity and start to make real change happen.

After the trip Young Friends said they felt:


On behalf of all the young Friends and the Youth Development Project, we would like to say a massive thank you to Bristol Area Meeting for generously subsidising the trip.

submitted by Kirsty Philbrick
Youth Development Worker, Quaker Life

Photos: Pearl and Sam welcome Greta to Friends House (by Anne van Staveren)
Young Friends have lunch together at The Wellcome Trust (by Pearl Johns)