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Youth Strike for Climate Brighton

Our aim

Youth Strike for Climate Brighton aims to respond to the current climate crisis, by raising awareness on the urgency of the issue and the disproportionate impact it is having on young people, and people in the Global South. We aim to connect this global issue with everyday lives of people, including Sussex students.

Our objectives

We are acting under the broad umbrella of demands that have been developed by the youth climate movement in the UK, the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN). Our objectives and demands are the following:

- We want to lobby the Government to declare a climate emergency and implement a Green New Deal to achieve Climate Justice.

 We have achieved our first demand on a local level, with the Council’s declaring of the Climate Emergency. However, there is much work to be done to bring about a 10-year mobilisation to totally decarbonise the Brighton economy. We want to organise a city assembly to work out how Brighton can do this in a fair and equitable way, that doesn’t disadvantage civilians, including Sussex students.

Devising of a Green New Deal on a local and national level requires youth involvement in the policy-making. Contact with knowledge sharing institutions such as Universities and think tanks must be established. Through this, we can begin to make informed decisions on how to bring about a Just Transition to a zero carbon economy, that also considers young people's concerns.                              

- We want the government to recognise that young people have the biggest stake in our future, by incorporating youth views into policy-making and bringing the voting age down to 16.

We have successfully passed a motion through the Brighton and Hove City Council together with the young Green councillors, asking them to help us lobby for this by writing to the Secretary of State. This will be discussed further at the Environmental Committee meeting on 8th October.

- We want to lobby for the national curriculum to be reformed to address the ecological crisis as an educational priority. 

A letter has also been sent together with Brighton and Hove City Council to the Secretary of Education requesting that they consider reforming the national curriculum in light of the ecological crisis. This must be followed up with contact with the education Unions such as UCU, NEU and Unison, to establish how this can be lobbied for further. We hope that by an affiliated campaign with University of Sussex Student Union will help us push this demand further into Tertiary education as well.                   

More specifically at the University of Sussex, we would like to:

- push for a sustainability agenda on campus by working with other students groups. This will notably involve working within the Student Union’s new strategy pillar Your World.

 build links with sustainability projects in the city of Brighton. We have already built up a network of organisations such as ONCA the local art gallery, parents for future, Extinction Rebellion Brighton and Brighton Beach Clean.

- raise awareness about the the climate crisis and how it intersects with other social issues among the Sussex student body by organising events with other student campaigns and societies at Sussex. Our team is made up of a mixture of school, college and university age students based in Brighton. This is an initiative that has grown organically in the city of Brighton, and connected students who would not normally have much interaction with one another. While, our end goal is to push for an adequate response to the enormity of the climate crisis, we are also building collective and relational power in our city, and thus closing the gap between students and the city of Brighton.

 

Campaign background

In the past few months, over 1.5 million students have voiced their discontent, expressing outrage and frustration at the climate inaction by leaders today. What started as Greta Thunberg’s solo school strike against her government's inaction on the climate crisis, has spread across the world, unifying young people from all different backgrounds.

Here in Brighton, we have experienced the strength of the movement, and it’s potential to unify young people, including students behind a more just and equal society. From our open mic moments in the strikes, to the informative workshops on climate justice, young people have proven time and time again that the stereotypes of an apathetic and apolitical generation are completely unfounded. We have campaigned, together with other groups, for a declaration of a climate emergency by both the City Council and the University of Sussex. These have been recognised, and are the stepping stones for bringing about a genuinely just Green New Deal for Brighton and the UK. 

The withholding of an education is an extremely powerful political tool, that our critics describe as ‘ungrateful’ and ‘lazy’. It is precisely the opposite. We are filling a gap in the education system that enables young people to learn about politics and social issues that affect them, in a fully participatory way, something that Ofsted’s cursory ‘learning outside the classroom’ criteria will never be able to. We strive to further this ‘direct education’ with workshops on climate justice, where young people can learn about the historical causes of the climate crisis, and the disproportionate impact climate change is having on the global south. We have done these in collaboration with a social justice organisation called Global Justice Now.