This article from Bethany Stephenson contains 10 top tips for young women attending a Youth Climate Strike.
Are you going to be joining the Global Climate Strike on Friday 29th November? As after more than 7 million people went on climate strikes around the world during the week of September 20th, the Youth Climate Strike movements are going to be doing it again on November 29th.
The school strike for the climate, also known variously as Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate, Climate Strike, Youth Strike for Climate, is an international movement of school students who take time off from class to participate in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change.
Many young people don’t feel like they have a choice, after years of talking, countless negotiations, empty deals on climate change and fossil fuel companies being given free rides to drill beneath our soils and burn away our futures for their profit. Politicians and fossil fuel companies have known about climate change for decades, yet have willingly handed over their responsibility for our future to profiteers whose search for quick cash threatens our very existence. This crisis is very real, and it cannot be ignored any longer. So many of us now feel that if we don’t start acting for our future, nobody else will make the first move. For more information check out the UK Student Climate Strike Network.
Top 10 tips for Attending a Youth Climate Strike
So if you are a young woman intending to go on a Youth Climate Strike we have put together ten pieces of advice that will be useful. As there are plenty of ways that you can be well prepared and stay safe whilst making your voice heard.
1. Create and take with you either a banner or placard that is aimed at climate justice. Be as creative as possible in both the wording, imagery and art tools you use. There is also the choice of whether you only use one side or both sides of your banner or placard to make your statement. Additionally, you are free to use rude language on your work but please be aware that you will not be allowed in photos taken by the organisers if you do. Take inspiration from the internet and social media as well as on the television if you have seen any of the news items about previous climate demonstrations.
2. Be prepared to sing and chant. Singing and chanting are part and parcel of any protest so having good vocal chord strength is very important; remember to take and regularly drink from a large reusable bottle of water. The songs are usually sung or chanted to familiar music so they is usually no need to learn lyrics or tunes. The chants are also made through ‘call and response’ so only work if plenty of people are shouting along.
3. Know and remember your legal rights. You must always recognise and take heart that protesting is a human right, whatever gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity or ability one is. This right is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights under Article 10, freedom of expression, and Article 11, freedom of assembly and association. As a young woman, it should be possible for you to work together with those you live with at home, your school or college or university, or your place of work to actively campaign for a better environment for all.
However, you must also know the tactics to use if you are either fined or arrested during a strike. You could be fined due to being out of school, college or work for an unauthorised absence or arrested by the police depending on your actions during the protest. Make sure you know details of solicitors and helplines. These can sometimes be found on bustcards which you can download and print from the internet and take with you to demonstrations if you fear the worst might happen. Climate Strikers, these are your Rights
4. Be contactable! A mobile phone that is fully charged is essential to have in terms of letting people who are not with you know where you are and in case you get lost. Furthermore, if you have a phone that has poor battery life or are worried that it could die at any moment during the day of the strike then do bring an accessible, small, environmentally-friendly portable charger with you.
5. Wear comfortable, water or heat proof clothing and shoes. While a protest might make you want to dress up and stand out, it is a good idea to be both comfortable and weather proof. Constantly check the local weather reports both in the days leading up to and on the day itself. It’s always good to be prepared for all eventualities, especially when you’re going to be outside and standing or walking for hours. Take a raincoat if it is going to rain and sunscreen and sunglasses if it is going to be hot and sunny. An umbrella may not be the best idea even if it is chucking it down!
6. Go and Be with People You Know. Have someone – or a group of people – who you know with you at all times during the rally but do not, under any circumstance, arrange to meet them within the protest or march. Meet before the event begins or outside the area or zone that it is taking place at and try to stay at one another’s sides throughout. It is easy to get lost in the crowds, so do make sure that they are either in front of you or behind you by occasionally looking out for each other.
7. Be aware of your surroundings and other people. Although protests are wonderful for declaring and politicising one’s own views, do be aware of those around you, particularly if their views on what should be done to tackle climate justice differ to your own, or if the demonstration involves a die-in, sit-in or blockade. A die-in is when all protesters simultaneously pretend to be dead by lying in silence on the ground, a sit-in is when demonstrators enter a business or a public place and remain seated until evicted or until their grievances are answered, and a blockade is when participants blocking off areas or pathways to obstruct and disrupt.
8. Know where the loo’s are. When you are in need of the loo during a protest march, make sure you know where the nearest available women’s toilets are. If using a branded café or restaurant, you will have to buy something before you are allowed to use their bathrooms. It may also be useful to remember to go before you leave home, work or school for the demonstration.
9. Be inspired by other female strikers. Take inspiration from some of the many female climate breakdown activists around the world who are easily followable via social media e.g. Greta Thunberg, Immy Lucas, Andrea Sanders and Lizzie Carr. 12 Female Climate Activists Who are Saving the Planet. You could try getting in touch with other young female activists via your local youth climate groups. Bristol Youth Strike for Climate.
10. Become involved with Catalyse Change CIC
A Bristol-based social enterprise that supports defending the living planet whilst also supporting young girls and women to develop sustainability skills and knowledge. Tackling gender equality and sustainability – one being key to achieving the other – by working with future change makers.
You can take part in the Catalyst Bootcamps and mentoring programme in 2020 – for more information contact Traci Lewis email@example.com You can also follow and contact them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – follow their journey and get involved in tackling our local and global environmental crises!
About this Author: Bethany Stephenson is a voluntary communications worker for both Catalyse Change CIC and Cotham Parish Church. Follow her on Twitter @tweetsofbeth
For more information about Catalyse Change CIC www.catalysechange.com firstname.lastname@example.org