On Friday 20th September young people and workers across the world will be taking part in a Global Climate Strike – in Bristol demonstrations will be led by young people who have been carrying out monthly Youth Climate Strikes in the city since February. This strike is expected to be the largest yet as they are joined by unions and local organisations as part of an international day of climate action. At a council meeting this evening (Tuesday 10th September) Carla Denyer, the Green Party councillor who initiated Bristol Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency, will ask Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees if he will support Council workers taking time off to join the strike.
Councillor Denyer will ask the question at the ‘Members Forum’ part of a Council meeting taking place on Tuesday 10 September. She said:
“What these young people are doing is really important, they are showing adults the way, and Greens are 100% behind them. I am asking the Mayor to support the strike and commit to allowing Council staff to take part, as Bristol University has done. I will also be taking part in the 20th September strike events on College Green myself, and am looking forward to meeting all of the other participants.
“The Climate Emergency declaration we made in Bristol is just the first step. Young people are rightly angry that the adults in power are happy to talk about climate change but less willing to actually do anything about it. We hope that this strike will put more pressure on the national and local governments to make the radical changes necessary.”
Bristol Youth Strike for Climate have a petition calling on Bristol Council to “put in place a 30 minute work stoppage between 12:00-12:30 to allow their workers to safely attend part of the General Strike.” As there will not be time for the petition to reach the required numbers to generate a debate at Bristol Council before the climate strike on September 20, Cllr Denyer says she asked the Mayor the question to ensure the issue is raised before the strike.
Lily, 17, one of the organisers of the Youth strike, said:
“For months, the youth of Bristol has been striking to protest inaction from the government over the issue of climate change. Bristol City Council claims to be taking the issue seriously; they’ve declared a climate emergency, and have put faith in their One City Plan to sufficiently combat the issue. Of course, the council can only make changes in Bristol, and it is painfully clear that national and international action is required to avert catastrophe as well.
“On the 20th of September, there will be the largest climate mobilisation Britain will have ever seen, something we expect the council to fully support, due to their recognition of a climate emergency. Adults and young people will be taking to the streets alongside each other. Our question to the Mayor is – will he join us?”
The University and College Union (UCU) has already stated its support for the strike and is calling for a ‘30 minute solidarity climate stoppage’, submitting a motion on it to the TUC Congress taking place in Brighton from 8 to 11 September. The Green Party has signed along with numerous trade union branches. Bristol University will also be supporting its staff to take place in the climate strike on 20 September, according to a statement on twitter from Head of the School of Earth Sciences Rich Pancost.
Councillor Denyer added:
“Young people have also been striking against the expansion of Bristol Airport, which is planning to double its size. We simply can’t afford to continue developing fossil fuel infrastructure like this if we want to preserve a world worth living on – we have to put people and the planet before short-term profits. New research has suggested the Airport’s stated economic benefits are grossly exaggerated, so I hope the Mayor (who’s been an enthusiastic backer of the expansion) will change his views on it.”