Speech on Climate Protests – by Molly Playford, KS3 student

I asked permission to talk to all of you today, in front of my peers and my teachers. We are not in a lesson currently, but I hope that I can educate and enlighten you to some of the facts about climate change and why I disagree with the idea that being here is more important that being out protesting. I can say with confidence that if there was a climate change protest today, I would not be here now. Think about it now, would you be here?

I think that this decision is up to us. People may try to stop us so I am now addressing the educators in the room, would you try to stop me? Denying the fact that you hold more power than me would simply be a lie. However, I would deny the fact that you have more power over all of the students in this school together. The people in power are abandoning their responsibility of fixing the current climate situation that we are in. With it, they are abandoning the opportunity to have our respect and admiration. To those who deny climate change or dismiss the fact that is has effects on all of us, now, I do not regret saying that I have no respect, admiration or praise to show you. You want us to be in school, but I have no respect for that instruction until you accept the responsibilities that come with your power. You can’t tell me to do anything and have me heed it until you realise that your power only matters if you use it for good and welcome the duties that come with it.

I also cannot deny the fact that I am lucky. I am lucky to have the opportunity to be up here speaking to all of you but I am also lucky that I have the chance to be in school. I appreciate my education and the quality of my life and my lessons. But in order to give the next generation that chance and quality of education also, I am giving up that chance. That is not taking it for granted but it is using it to show the seriousness of the sentiment behind what we are doing. We are deadly serious because we must live with the choices we make. We must also live with the choices you all make. I believe my choice to protest means much more beneficial effects in the future. The wrong choice is a contract, writing off hundreds of thousands of opportunities fro the future generation, it is a contract that the next generation will be forced to sign with no other choice. They will have no lawyers or people to represent them because there is nothing that can be done. Leaving the job until the most serious effects of climate change and global warming are irreversible means those children will not get a chance at education because of devastating floods or hurricanes or the deteriorating financial climate of their country. A majority of people in 28 countries believe that climate change is likely to cause serious economic damage, destroy cities and start wars. from history, we know those things can be devastating and by abandoning your responsibility, you cannot convince me that you are not giving up on all of the people that could possibly be affected by those impacts.

Some may argue that we should indeed be in school receiving an education however I believe that works in our favour and makes us impossible to ignore further. In my opinion, I believe I am educated well on climate change already but if you force us to attend school, you are practically feeding us information to throw back at you. Did you know that climate change is part of our lessons at school? Children attending lessons will the learned it and Educators will have taught it. But the world leaders or people of power, did you learn about it at school? Have you done numerous hours of research on it? If so, then you must be able to see how extreme the situation is. If you have not, then what makes you feel like you know better than any of us do about what is happening to our planet? And if we know more about it that some of you, what makes you so sure than we cannot miss a fraction of school time to protest our future? I could tell you that 19 of the 20 warmest years have all occurred since 2001; 2016 was the warmest on record; Antarctica mass variation since 2002 has a rate of change at 147 gigatonnes per year and regarding the overall impact on humanity, 45% of people are more concerned about climate change than coronavirus. If you didn’t know those things then what I have to say to you is maybe you should be the one returning to school. By that information, I believe I know a considerable amount about climate change. I have learned enough to know that our signs are not going to stop it and I have learned enough to know that we are not protesting against climate change, we are protesting against the leaders.

With my knowledge on climate change, I am satisfied that I can sacrifice some school time to protest against the leaders. But that will not make a difference, so I address my peers, if you are not confident, educate yourselves because our world leaders, or supposed role models, are clearly not educated enough themselves. And do not ask permission. Because we will not stop until we are satisfied with their actions and until they realise that it is personal. Add individual feedback