UK Student Climate Network Statement on the political, non party-political nature of the youth climate movement

I’m sure you’re probably aware of us by now, but for those who aren’t yet familiar, we’re the UK Student Climate Network. We’re the tens of thousands of young people rising up in every town and city across the UK calling for system change, not climate change. We’re your neighbours, your classmates, the kids sat at the back of the bus and the university students in the flat next door. We’re calling for our future to be protected, and for those in positions of power to take the immediate and radical actions needed to address the climate crisis, not just for us, but for those around the world already losing their lives because of the devastating effects of climate breakdown.

We’ve emerged as one of the most exciting and dynamic movements calling for climate justice in the UK. We have all witnessed the unprecedented numbers of young people being empowered to hold those in positions of leadership to account on their dismal climate records, lack of positive action, and abject failure to protect people and planet and allow them to flourish.

Not only have we found our collective voice, but we’re using it to shout at the top of our lungs. We need climate action, and we needed it yesterday. We’re well aware of the speed and scale required, but this is a movement that’s re-imagining what our world can be. We’re re-configuring politics and civic engagement, and now we need you to listen to us.

We’ve burst onto the scene as one of the most political forces on the horizon, and we want to make it implicitly clear that we’re not aligned to one or any political party. We’re passionate, we’re vocal and we come from a huge range of backgrounds that influence our politics. But we are united in our struggle for climate justice, not just in the UK, but universally across the globe, irrespective of borders. This defines our movement; it’s our calling card and it’s our green line. On this we’re immovable. If you pledge to take the necessary action to address the climate crisis, we will be supportive and rally behind you as long as your motives and intentions are true.

However, we won’t be co-opted; this is our movement and this is our voice. We’re not your pawns in a political game; we’re not a photo opportunity to win votes, and we’re certainly not anyone’s mouthpiece. We don’t want any party, irrespective of their politics, to flood our demonstrations with their placards to promote their own agenda.

We won’t accept those trying to take over or assume the right to further their own political goals via our platforms. For too long, our political system and methods of civic engagement have frozen out youth voices, and we have found ourselves disenfranchised and left with no avenues to express our politics. We’re no longer accepting this. If you really care for our movement, our climate, and our politics you will give us space to express ourselves, to develop our own ideas and narratives. You need to let us voice our concerns and speak with passion for the world we want to see.

Support us, help us grow, provide assistance to nurture our movement and our world, but you must stop if you think you’re using our movement for an ulterior party-aligned agenda.

We’re not shying away from it; we’re damned political. We embody the politics of our time, but we’re throwing aside the politics of old and defining our own for the world we want to see: a world in which we’ve dispelled the social and environmental ills of the past and today. Will you join us?

We’re going to change the world.

Yours sincerely,

UK Student Climate Network