Walking in solidarity with the youth strike for climate activists

The climate strike culminates outside Trinity College, Cambridge, with symbolic smoke hanging in the air.

Staff from across the Wildlife Trust walked in solidarity with the climate strikers on 20 September

I was at the Climate Strike in Cambridge, walking the streets with the Youth Strike for Climate activists.

Working for the Wildlife Trust means that our day to day efforts all go towards tackling the climate and ecological crisis, but, with the support of the Wildlife Trust to do so, it felt important to lend my voice and presence to those who are also trying to effect real change – especially where numbers really might make a difference in being heard.

I was inspired by the turnout and sheer energy for change that seems to be building. Afterwards, I spoke to some of my colleagues who had been at the strikes in Cambridge and Northampton, and asked them what it was that had inspired them to go along.

Youth strike for climate activists on Castle Hill, Cambridge. 20 September 2019.

Youth strike for climate activists gather on Castle Hill, Cambridge, before the march. 20 September 2019. Photo by Sophie Baker.

Helen Bird, Accounts and Admin Assistant

"My motivation for working at a conservation charity is my love for wildlife and the natural environment – I want to help to protect it any way I can.

"I was planning to go to support the Youth Strike for Climate anyway, having been increasingly aware and distressed by government’s lack of action regarding the ecological and climate emergency, which resulted in my getting involved with Extinction Rebellion earlier this year. Specifically this time, there was a need for stewards to help protect the children’s march, so I helped with that.

"The turnout in Cambridge was excellent, which was inspiring. The banners that the children produce are always lovely to see, and also really young children only just walking, wearing home-made cardboard placards saying ‘rebel for life’ bring a smile to your face.

"This wasn't the first time I'd been to a protest – but it is only the recent climate emergency that has caused me to turn out and protest. Never before has any other cause felt so urgent or important. I feel the current wave of non-violent actions that have been taking place actually stand a chance of bringing about the real change that we need.

"If something serious isn’t done very soon there will be little habitable planet left for future generations to come – this statement applies both to humans and other life."

It's so very important... [to] support the children who have no say but whose future we hold in our hands.

Paul Wyer, Trust Promoter

"This was my first ever march as this is so very important: to stand alongside other likeminded people who fully appreciate the mess we’re in and support the children who have no say but whose future we hold in our hands. We need to keep giving the message to world leaders until they finally listen before it’s all too late!"

Becky Green, Trumpington Meadows Senior Ranger

"I had been wanting to get involved in things like the climate strike and protests by Extinction Rebellion for a while, having been inspired by colleagues who’ve been involved from the start. Last Friday felt like the right time to go to my first strike/protest/march, so I went along to Cambridge  – the movement is gaining momentum and it felt important to show up in big numbers, to increase influence, to demand change! The atmosphere was amazing, so much positivity and passion, and amazing to see so many children fighting hard for their future."

It felt important to show up in big numbers, to increase influence, to demand change!

Ruth Hawksley, Water for Wildlife Officer

"I went to the march because I’m frustrated that our leaders are not even doing the obvious things to reduce the causes of climate change, and it was a way of expressing discontent with the current situation. I also want young people to believe they can change the world, let’s face it we need them to! 

"I hope these marches will encourage politicians to be bolder, because some of the changes that are needed will not be universally popular. Our actions, both individual and collective, should have regard to future generations. I want my children to be supported by a functioning planet which can provide them with clean air, clean water and food as well as beauty and diversity. 

I hope these marches will encourage politicians to be bolder

"This ties exactly in with the fate of Cambridgeshire’s chalk streams and, locally, our unsustainable use of groundwater. I am involved with monitoring chalk streams and restoration projects, but have no power to influence abstraction and subsequent drying up of rivers."

Juliette Butler, Wildlife Training Workshops Officer

"It was the first time I'd been to anything like this, and if my colleague hadn't been going I might have considered it too daunting. In the end, I went along to the Climate Strike in Northampton as I felt I would regret it if I didn’t go. Climate change and the effect on our planet is probably the single most important factor at the moment. Without a healthy planet, we may as well forget everything else! Also I think about our daughter’s future, and her children, and grandchildren, etc.

Without a healthy planet, we may as well forget everything else!

"The main thing I took away from being there was the passion and enthusiasm shown, especially by the younger generation, who will see the effects more than most of us.

"My day-to-day job is organising wildlife training workshops such as identifying beetles, bumblebees, basic ecology skills, wildflower identification…all things that would suffer or disappear without a healthy environment. 

"I really feel that the more people can learn about our natural environment, the better their knowledge will be and they will be better positioned to make more informed decisions."

Lisa Rowley, Administration Officer, Northamptonshire

"I went along to the Climate Strike because Climate Change affects us all. We can no longer ignore Climate Change and unless we keep on about it nothing will get done by the Governments across the world.

"In my 13 years at the Trust, as I keep a record of the first date I see species every year, it’s apparent that a lot of species are being seen earlier and we’re now seeing a lot of species in our area that we’ve not seen before. This is outside of my ‘official’ job as Admin Officer of the Trust but gives me a greater understanding of the wider picture and therefore more ability to answer any questions our members or the general public have.

"This is the first time I'd been to anything like this, and there was much more support in Northampton than I realised – people actually DO care!"