Over the previous two months, the UK Student Climate Network has coordinated the largest youth-led climate justice mobilisations the country has ever seen, when students ditched the classrooms and sacrificed their education to demand urgent climate action.

In February, over 20,000 students took to the streets in the first wave of the #YouthStrike4Climate movement. In its second iteration in March, this number was eclipsed when 50,000 young people were empowered to call for climate justice as part of the largest ever global climate mobilisation that saw over 1.5 million young people demonstrate in upwards of 120 countries.

We feel compelled to act because of the urgent need to do so. Our climate is in crisis. Decades upon decades of inaction, denying, delaying and a failure to act appropriately have left us with no other option. We’ve been told to leave it to the ‘adults in the room’, the policy makers, politicians, corporations and those in positions of power, yet they have failed us. They have failed our generation, failed those around the world already suffering the effects of climate change, and failing those still to come. While those in power talk about climate change in language that minimises the brutal and harsh realities of the lived experience of the crisis, many are enduring the devastating effects of climate breakdown around the world. Cyclone Idai – which ravaged through Mozambique recently – is just one prominent example of increasingly extreme weather destroying communities that have contributed the least to the crisis, yet find themselves bearing the brunt of the effects.

The solutions to the crisis are available. The technology to restructure our economies and societies along environmental principles are well-known. These technologies are growing cheaper by the year, and advancing in capability. However, progress has been stymied by political and corporate interest, bound by fossil fuel-based extractivist greed.

We’re tired of looking around us and witnessing inaction, seeing our futures ripped away and observing climate devastation around the world.

We, the youth, are rising up. We have no choice. Failure is not an option. We need resilient and transformative ideas to create change in the world, sow seeds to grow communities, break down structures of oppression, and create a fair, just and equitable world that works in the interests of all. That’s why today, tomorrow, and the days yet to come, the UK Student Climate Network is calling for a Green New Deal – a political and economic transformation that will work in the interests of people and planet, while addressing the climate crisis on a timescale that recognises the severity of our planetary situation. Without bold, radical, and urgent action we will fail. We cannot be bound by what is thought ‘politically achievable’. We must draw inspiration from what is needed and devise the best and most just pathway to achieve it.

Now you may be asking what the Green New Deal is. In simple terms, a Green New Deal will restructure our economy to not only ensure a livable, healthy environment, planet and future, but also secure quality, well paid green jobs. Such a transformation can be broken down into the following 5 principles:

  1. Totally decarbonise the economy of the United Kingdom through a government-led, ten year mobilisation for a just and prosperous transition including the infrastructure needed to benefit all communities and workers.
  2. Create millions of new well-paid and secure jobs ensuring sustainable and meaningful livelihoods for all workers, including those in today’s high emissions sectors.
  3. Massively reduce social and economic inequalities with investment targeted in communities where it is most needed in the UK as a result of historic and current oppression, and the green economy that emerges will operate equitably and work in the interest of these communities.
  4. Protect and restore vital threatened habitats and carbon sinks, and ensure the provision of clean water, air, and green spaces, securing a safe and healthy environment for all.
  5. Build a resilient society prepared for impacts of climate change that are now unavoidable, readying ourselves in unity to meet these challenges in a way that protects the most vulnerable including; deindustrialised communities; the global south; deprived rural areas; communities of colour; migrant communities; low-income workers; women; the elderly; the homeless; people with disabilities and young people.

We’re well aware of the monumental size of the task ahead. The road we must travel will be difficult; interference is likely and many will try and stand in our way. But we say to those who will stand in our way; we’re passionate, we’re angry, we’re determined, and we’re sure as hell not going to give up on fighting not just for the sake of our world, but our entire future.

We must stand up and be counted, create the communities that will provide each and every one of us with the strength and courage to fight for a better world. Our very lives depend on it.

We must abolish the thinking that creates today at the expense of tomorrow.

Join us. Rise up. Organise. Disrupt. We’ve got a world to win!


The UK Student Climate Network.