'Business as usual is no longer an option.' Join the global strike for climate action

Friday 20 September promises to be an unprecedented global demonstration of concern for the environment, as thousands of young strikers invite us to join them to take a stand for nature's recovery.

Since Greta Thunberg stood alone outside her school in Sweden last August, the ‘Fridays for Future’ school strikers have been growing in both number and influence.  This incredible youth-led movement has succeeded in shining a huge, glaring spotlight on the climate emergency and the necessity for concerted action to reverse the catastrophic decline of our natural environment.

The combined forces of the youth strikes, civil disobedience protests led by Extinction Rebellion and the millions of people up and down the country who have raised their voice in recent months – including our own members and supporters – has succeeded in pushing the climate crisis and nature emergency higher in both public consciousness and political agendas.

Ipsos Mori Issues Index

Ipsos Mori

Within the UK in recent months we have seen the highest ever scores for public concern for the environment, as tracked by Ipsos Mori and Natural England’s latest monitor on engagement with the natural environment (MENE), published last week, similarly shows a rise in concern about nature, with two thirds of the public concerned about biodiversity loss.

It is encouraging to see the bridges now being built between those fighting for action on climate and those working for wildlife.  Where previously these groups have worked pretty much in isolation, it is obvious now that the issues are inextricably linked and must be tackled together.  By joining forces, we are stronger.   

And the impact can be seen as more and more governments and councils declare climate emergencies (including locally in Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Winchester, and the Isle of Wight).  This is a positive sign that the swell of public opinion and support can make a difference.  Of course, there is so much more that remains to be done and we can’t take our foot of the pedal now.

school strikers

Next week's strikes are timed to coincide with UN Climate Summit, which starts on on 23 September – with the hope of giving leaders renewed determination to find global solutions. 

But solutions are also needed at a national level – we still have to secure the ambitious Environment Bill we have been promised, with nature’s recovery at its heart.  And we need local solutions as well. 

We will be setting out our response to the emergency and our plan for a wilder Hampshire and the Isle of Wight this Autumn.

Oak Leaves © Jim Higham

© Jim Higham

Wilder conference and strategy launch, 24 October

Join us and some fantastic speakers as we set out our response to the emergency and our plan for a wilder Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

FIND OUT MORE

So next week, you can make a difference. Stopping what you normally do for a day will help signal that we can't ignore the crisis any more.  Collectively it will sound the alarm. 

If you want to join others and take action, here are a few ideas: 

  • There are a number of events and protests happening at schools and in towns and cities locally – including in Guildhall square, Portsmouth, Winchester University and central Southampton.  If you are planning to join others - whether it’s outside your work, your local school or indeed at one of these larger gatherings - we have artwork that you can print and use as signs.  We even have a few eco-friendly placards left over from the Time is Now Rally, that you are welcome to use.  Get in touch if you are interested in getting hold of these.
  • Why not download RSPB’s birdsong collection and turn your picket line into a Pipet line. Share the link with your fellow strikers and use your phones for something better than checking your emails – create a fantastic cacophony of bird call to stop passers by in their tracks.
  • You could also take the opportunity to get together with work colleagues, local people or fellow students to decide what you can do to make your workplace or community greener and wilder and help nature’s recovery. There are some good examples of what people are doing here.   
  • Or you could commit to spending sometime on Friday reminding your local MP that, whatever is going on (or not, as the case may be) in Parliament, the Environment Bill must be a top priority.  Deal or No deal, we need a wilder future. Join our campaign here

Finally, let us know what you are doing, so we can share your stories and encourage others!

If you have any questions about the strike or about how you can play a part in a wilder future, email wilder@hiwwt.org.uk