By Olivia Wainwright
On Friday 15th February, I sat down outside Birmingham City Council House for the first time. I was on strike from school, protesting about how little The Government are doing to tackle and even recognise the issue of climate change.
Just a month earlier, I’d never heard of Greta Thunberg or the youth-led climate movement sweeping the globe, and no idea that getting involved would change my life so much for the better.
Before Greta, it felt like there was nothing I could do to make a difference. I’d been brought up in an environmentally-conscious family, so I was aware of the problems but not what I could do to make a difference. I recycled, ate a vegetarian diet, tried to be vegan and caught the bus instead of asking my parents for a lift wherever possible, but it never seemed enough…
This all changed when my father excitedly showed me a video of the then-fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg speaking at Davos. Suddenly, I felt like there was something big I could do! I could raise my voice and start speaking to people in power about the need to make the large-scale changes that are irrefutably necessary. Since then I’ve met with and convinced Councillors, MPs, the West Midlands Mayor and an MEP.
Having a teenage role-model who is making such a difference is incredibly inspiring, and proves to me that even though I’m still in school, I’m not too young to also make a difference.
There is so much that I, and everyone else around my age, can do to make our voices heard. Every single strike is a life-affirming experience, the atmosphere is one of utmost support, passion and love for everyone there, and I am so glad that I am involved.