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VOICES

Student Instead of enjoying our childhood, we're forced to protest over climate change

Eva Bresnihan will join thousands of students tomorrow, 3 March in a global Fridays for Future climate protest.

LAST UPDATE | 2 Mar 2023

TIME IS RUNNING out. Our world is dying. We’ve heard it all before. But how can we help?

Climate change can no longer be ignored. Humanity does not have the luxury of time.

With the upcoming strike this Friday, 3 March, there is an opportunity for people to fight the system and demand change.

Scientists say we have until 2030 before there is no point of return. No going back. Our future will be set in stone. We are seeing the devastating consequences of climate change already. Droughts in the Horne of Africa, flooding in Pakistan.

And what will be next? You might not be directly affected right now but sooner or later you will be.

What are the climate strikes?

The goal of these strikes is to put pressure on people in power – policymakers and politicians – to listen to the facts, to listen to what scientists have been telling us since the 1970s.

Our Earth is burning up and we are the ones causing it by burning fossil fuels. Strike action is a means of getting people in power to listen.

It requires people to come together because in unity there is strength. We know it works. This Friday strikes will be taking place all around the world: from Cork to Wellington to Lilongwe to Bengaluru. All around the world, people are sick of being ignored.

Fridays for Future

The Fridays for Future movement began in August, 2018 when a 15-year-old girl decided to sit outside the Swedish Parliament every day for three weeks in protest at inaction on climate change. Greta Thunberg sparked the mass youth-led movement of #FridaysForFuture – the idea of striking for our future, for the salvation of our planet. This was almost five years ago.

Has much happened since then? Yes, both good and bad.

demonstration-in-luetzerath Greta THUNBERG, Fridays for Future, Demonstration versus the eviction of Luetzerath - for coal phase-out and climate justice January 14th, 2023, DPA / PA Images DPA / PA Images / PA Images

Emissions have increased, the fossil fuel industry continues to grow, and politicians ignore the need for radical action. But over 14,000,000 people have joined the #FridaysForFuture movement and climate justice movements in workplaces and communities are growing around the world.

People are starting to grasp the severity of the situation. And yes, this should have happened years ago but it is still happening.

This is because people like you and me are striking and protesting to ensure climate change does not fall off the agenda. Politicians are starting to realise that they cannot simply brush this under the carpet any longer. It is a problem they must deal with. We made this happen. We forced them to act.

What future for us?

It makes me sad and frustrated that my friends and I are the ones striking for our future when we didn’t cause the problem in the first place. We are teenagers. We’re supposed to be enjoying our childhood, not missing school to make sure we have a world to grow up in. All we want is a future.

What people don’t realise is that everyone will be affected in the end. Even if you will not be here when the worst comes crashing down in a couple of decades, we will still be here. Your children, their children and their children will still be here.

We are not just fighting for our future. We are fighting for all of the people whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. For all the people who have had to flee their countries because of climate change. Yes, we talk of the future but we are also taking action for everyone who is suffering right now.

It gives me hope that people are starting to act. Our words are hitting hard. We are beginning to change the system because we are talking and organising and taking to the streets like for the global strike taking place this Friday.

It is so easy to help. I got involved when I was only 10 years old. And now, here I am with the ability to help educate people and take part in bigger actions.

By just coming to these strikes for a few hours every couple of months, you are making the problem more visible, demanding that governments and policymakers take more action. There is power in numbers and together we can help bring about the needed change.

If we do not save our planet, we will have nothing left. It will take a while for our Earth to fully die, but in the end, there will be nothing. Nothing of our beautiful planet left. Our home will be gone.

We need to act now. Join your local groups. Join the fight, no matter your age. We are everywhere. Climate change will affect you whether you believe it or not. Come join us tomorrow to strike for your future.

For more information on how to get involved: FridaysForFuture.org follow hashtags #FridaysForFuture #TomorrowIsTooLate #PeopleNotProfit. Follow your local groups on social media: @fridaysforfutureireland (Twitter) and @FridaysForFutureIreland (Instagram), @fffcork, @fridaysforfuture.

Eva Bresnihan is 14 years old and is from Cork City.

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