• The Gaudie

Children of The Climate Strike

How the Youth have been used as a political toy

by Dean Richards

On the 20th September, thousands of people gathered across the UK to protest against climate change, joining forces with the millions of people across the globe doing likewise. If the Climate Strike was impressive internationally, it also had an impact close to home, with many in Aberdeen also protesting outside Marischal College. Some University of Aberdeen staff had even given the greenlight by ending lectures early or by not penalising those who did not attend their seminars in order to participate.


Many primary and secondary schools along the length and breadth of the country took the same stance as our university: giving their pupils the greenlight to protest the current climate emergency in uniform.


Children are our future – it’s a cliché but it’s true – and they deserve to grow up in a world that is better than the one their parents and grandparents inherited. That is what every parent and grandparent wants for their children. And that is what this strike is about, preserving the Earth and making it more habitable for the current generation and those to come.


These children have not yet had the opportunity to fully develop their views, as well as go through the personal introspection required to develop a deeper understanding of the world around them. They are being railroaded into supporting a cause they likely do not understand – and at the sake of their education.


There’s an ugly shadow lurking behind this strike. And that’s the exploitative bandwagon adults have been spoon-feeding their children, allowing themselves to believe it okay to sacrifice their children’s education when the children know no better. It may ‘only be one day’ today. But it’s not the only day away from school that a child will have: there are the unavoidable sick days, the occasional skipping of the last week of term for that better holiday deal, the weddings and funerals, and countless other reasons that pull children out of the classroom and prevent them from learning. Young people should be in school learning about how to succeed in the adult world, and develop real-world skills adults need, as opposed to just copying adults in their vicinity who should really know better than to use young people as a political toy. 


These adults who are attending, what are they doing? They’re holding up signs, shouting some slogans, and having a day off. And what is a strike? In layman’s terms, a strike is a stoppage of work due to some sort of injustice perceived by the workers due to the employers’ exploitative action, and this stoppage of work costs the employers due to the lack of productivity. The employer supposedly then gives into the workers’ demands so they can get back to work. By this rough definition, the Climate Strike does not qualify as a strike. Who are these people striking against? The government? But they’re not workers of the government, and currently the government is in a state of prorogation. So, they’re shouting into the wind, and they have brought their children out of school to do the same. Instead of making a difference, they’re having a day out in town. 


These strike organisers could have formed a battalion of young people and school-goers to clean up the beaches, or give up single-use plastic, or boycott electricity for the day. But they didn’t. They just wanted to use them as a political plaything.  


Do not be surprised if instead of stories on how the students have changed the world, we’re instead greeted with articles detailing how students have left an abominable amount of litter in the streets.

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