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Maturing Through The Climate Crisis
Nosrat Fareha

When it comes to climate change, most of us want things to change that much is clear. A recent YouGov survey highlighted that most voters across all 151 national seats feel the government should be doing more to tackle climate change[1]. We want to see real action and real progress. But it seems that this care only exists until it is an inconvenience. Then it quickly becomes someone else’s responsibility and the rest of us resign ourselves to this ‘business as usual’ mindset where we all just go on with our day-to-day life even though the world is quite literally burning outside. We’ve seen it— the bushfires, the heatwaves, the droughts — we know what’s happening and we know that it will get worse, yet it’s easier to remain ignorant than it is to act.
 
I was 15 years old when I first decided that I wanted to do something tangible — talking about climate change with my friends at school was not enough, nor was liking YouTube videos about the shrinking ice caps. But it’s not like I could ask climate change to stop. This was around the time I had heard about Greta Thunberg. I thought she was so cool for resolutely sticking up for her future in a way that only she could; by making noise. By striking from school.

I was not the only one who was inspired, while students in Sweden began to organise, so did students everywhere else. At the time I used to think that people would only listen to you and take you seriously if you were an adult or in a position of power. The student-led climate justice movement proved me wrong and gave me an opportunity that I always wanted; an opportunity to speak up for myself. Even if I was just a child, I too was a valued member of society, and my words also deserved the same respect as any other person. I believed that if my future was at stake then I should get to have a say in it.
Much of my activism was driven by resentment, young people can’t even vote yet they will have to live with the consequences of our government’s inaction towards climate change for decades. It was never my intention to ‘act’ like an adult. I wanted to take action and I did so using the means that were available to me — whether that be through asking my peers to sign petitions or organising a meeting with my local MP, or making snarky signs for an event or organising a protest, I thought that taking these small steps was better than doing nothing however instead of being supported and guided by the adults around me, I was dismissed and ostracised because I was a child. It’s frustrating to see how contradictory adults are. At school we were always encouraged to be critical thinkers and active leaders in our communities, but, when we actually did that, they put their foot down and said ‘NO, NOT LIKE THAT!’
 

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