Dear Boris Johnson, using your gigantic platform to moan about kids like me won’t stop us fighting climate change

Scarlett Westbrook
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Dear Boris Johnson, using your gigantic platform to moan about kids like me won’t stop us fighting climate change

Look, I can understand people’s frustration at transport being stopped by climate change protestors, in a city where traffic is never kind. I get how irritating it must be that buses that are rarely on time have now been delayed even further.

But I don’t understand why, instead of taking notice of this cause, Boris Johnson still insists on reducing Extinction Rebellion’s groundbreaking efforts to a mere annoyance that “slightly grinds his teeth”.

In his own Telegraph opinion column, in an article that is available to millions – he says that he’s “utterly fed up with being told by nice young people that their opinions are more important than my own”.

Well, Mr Johnson, on behalf of all the voiceless children that you’re raging at, who don’t have their own gigantic platform, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you still don’t see why we’re protesting. I’m sorry that you still don’t understand that we have a mere 12 years to limit the climate change catastrophe and to save our Earth.

You say that you agree with Extinction Rebellion’s aims, but not their methods. But without these methods, would you have written this piece? Would the protest, and more importantly, the cause have reached such a wide audience?

You claim that you're “not sure why it is so glibly assumed that young people care more than anyone else about these issues”. I think I have the answer to that.

Mr Johnson, we are growing up in a world that is increasingly superficial. Our homework can be done by tapping on a screen, we can control appliances by talking to them. We could easily do what you’re doing: hide, stay inside and ignore this colossal crisis.

But we love the planet that we live in. You say that you intend to live for a long time, and so do we. But we want to live on Earth, not in a delusioned bubble. We want to see snow and polar bears and coral reefs when we’re older – and we want them to be there for our children to see too.

You accuse us of being posh and inexperienced; do these labels not ring a bell?

We are, in fact, quite the opposite. It's 2019. We don't need to have lived for decades to see the impact of climate change. We have books, the internet and other resources readily available. I studied “the environment” as a unit for my A2 with just a book on ideologies and Google.

Youth Strikers are people from all walks of life, who come together to protect something we all have in common. Race, religion, social class and education don’t change the fact that we all stand on the same Earth.

This isn’t party politics. It’s simple. If we don’t do something now, everyone, from you in your £20m mansion, to a homeless person in rural Asia will be affected.

Climate change doesn’t discriminate – it will have awful, irreversible consequences. Your claims of caring are poorly supported. You have consistently voted against climate change prevention measures, as your voting record blatantly shows.

In regard to China, Mr Johnson, I’m not sure if you’re aware how things work, but we protest in the UK because we’re citizens of the UK. We can’t take ourselves over to China – where the primary reason for emissions being so awful is because it’s where the sweatshops of the western world supporting our consumerist nation’s lifestyle are located – without making changes ourselves.

As Peter Johnson, who runs social media for the UK Student Climate Network – of which I am also a part – said to me: “We act with moral authority because our futures and opportunities are being taken away by the inaction of older generations.”

We are simply reiterating and acting upon basic scientific evidence and facts. We’re striking science lessons but still know more than you do.

So, the next time your chauffeur driven car is delayed for five minutes by a protest, take the time to think about how you can help do something to change the state of our Earth, and maybe then we won’t need to make you so frustrated.