Hannah Lee, a sixth form student at Arrow Vale RSA Academy in Redditch writes a personal account about her journey to London to participate in the Global Climate Strike march.
The weather is unusually pleasant for a late September morning. I recall that I haven’t felt nervous on my routine walk to the bus stop before.
There is a slightly sticky, wooden sign nestled under my right arm, and a collective attitude of frustration, agitation and determination under my left. This is because today, I aim to save the world.
Friday 20 September is due to see the largest global climate strike in history. Throughout the summer months, much of my time was spent reading and researching into the climate crisis and the 2016 Paris agreements, ways I can reduce my carbon emissions, and, most significantly, why aren’t we talking about this?
Upon learning that our politicians do not favour putting measures in place to combat the ever – increasing carbon emissions as much as they do other things, I begin to panic. Because, in the words of Greta Thunberg, ‘Our house is on fire’. I simply cannot comprehend the concept of a ruined earth, and on this day, I decide that I must take matters into my own hands.
It is almost 10am, and I am wary. Everybody around me is talking and passing out flyers and vegan brownies, and I can’t pretend that I don’t feel a little lost. I untuck the sign from under my arm; the stiffness reminds me that it hasn’t moved since my departure from Redditch an hour earlier.
I put down the sign and sit down, yet not for a moment before a girl with striking ginger hair, a little older than me, asks me to join her group. They are stood on a ledge, chanting and shouting, so I hoist myself up and tuck myself into the back.
The concept of being so public and so loud is quite overwhelming, and it takes me a little while to find my voice. I catch the tail-end of a chant:
“You’ll die of old age; I’ll die of climate change!”
And from this moment on, I am hooked.
I feel much braver now, so I slip through the gaps between people’s shoulders until I can see everyone and everything. I shout and bellow, following the lead of my new – found friends until my voice aches.
The heat is bearing down on us now, and I glue myself to my friends as we assemble for the march. We end up close enough to the front that I do not have to peer over the heads of others; my path is completely clear.
My coat sleeves scuff my ears as I hurl my sign skywards as high as my arms can reach, muffling the sounds of shouting all about me. We brush the back – end of the group on our way around the city centre; there are 3000 people in total.
Adrenaline rushes throughout me, and my heart beats harder and faster than it ever has before. My throat scratches more and more at each shout, and my head is now thumping in time with the pounding of my heart.
I know that if I am to make a difference, this is the right place for me to be, and I feel as if I might burst with pride. My feet are rubbed raw and arms no longer want to hold themselves so high; I am dehydrated, sore, and tired, but I feel better than I ever have before.
Arrow Vale RSA Academy is an RSA school – one of the features of being an RSA school is working towards being a ‘green school’. Find out more about RSA Academies.