Haringey Community Press

Haringey Community Press

Seeking climate justice

Hero for Seeking climate justice
Olivia Opara delivers a message to the demonstrators Credit: Stephen Furner
By Quentin Given 19 December 2021

Nearly 300 people joined Haringey’s COP26 climate demonstration on 6th November, sending a strong signal to the council to be ambitious in its climate policies, and adding to cross-UK pressure to stop fossil fuel use urgently.

There were strong contributions from our MPs David Lammy (Tottenham) and Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green), as well as Haringey cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency, Mike Hakata.

We heard a powerful message from youth activist Olivia Opara (above) and Robert Thairu of Estates Elite Recycling provided a perspective from Kenya.

Trade unionists Paul Power (Unison) and Paul Kenny (Trades Council) added their emphasis on the need for just transition in the context of wider social justice.

Bounds Green resident Carla Francome led some uplifting singing at the end of the rally, sending many of us on our way to the central London demonstration later that day.

This event gave us a chance to show our concern and demand for action commensurate with the emergency we face.

Olivia’s speech

‘Be the change you want to see’

If you keep taking and taking, what will be left for us?

If you keep hurting the planet, how do you expect us to truly live?

Young people are the future of humanity, yet humanity has dealt us a deck of disenfranchisement, disaster and dismay. We now live in a constant state of anxiety about our future that is shrouded in an onslaught of climate catastrophes. How can you expect us to have promising prospects when our perspective of tomorrow is of doom?

The older generations, you had the privilege of being able to go about your life without having to bounce between the polarity of the: “Earth is fine”, “the Earth is dying”. The fact that you did not have to grow up watching the very world that you live in perish is a privilege in and of itself.

We are least responsible, yet we shoulder most of the consequences.

And I ask you: How is that fair?

The developed world has selfishly caused most of this catastrophe and yet remains adamant that it should be the global south who should try to develop more greenly. Have you forgotten that it is the young people in developing countries that will suffer and are suffering the most from the effects of climate change that is worsening?

Cyclone Ana paying untimely visits. States going cold. Smothering heatwaves in America. Floods and wildf ires across Asia and Europe. Droughts plague Africa. The Amazon dying. Animals disappearing. Natural habitats desolate. Natural resources massively depleted.

We have been betrayed. Ignored. Abandoned.

And yet young people have been proactive, in our own ways. We have been more conscious of how our actions affect the planet. We are thrifting more as a result of being more self-aware of our contributions to fast fashion; protesting more to hold those with power to account; learning more by having these discussions.

Eco-anxiety amongst young people is very real and is on the rise. We cannot be the only ones who care about the Earth, about our home. So, listen when we voice our concerns and take action.

Be proactive. Be the change. Act now!

This speech apperas courtesy of youth communications charity, Exposure.

For more information: exposure.org.uk