‘Screw Brexit, focus on the planet’: Cardiff kids call politicians to action

The YouthStrike4Climate protest came to Cardiff Friday as children marched to the Senedd to demand action on climate change, but were their voices heard?

Determined teens marched nearly two and a half miles across Cardiff. Photo by Joshua Lowe.

Hundreds of children marched through Cardiff Friday as part of a global movement to protest inaction over climate change.

 Teens marched from Cardiff City Hall to the Welsh Assembly government building as part of the nationwide YouthStrike4Climate. YouthStrike4Climate is the UK’s contribution to the Global Strike for Future movement that held protests today across the globe.

The protest’s turnout was impressive despite the terrible weather. Photo by Joshua Lowe.

Cameron Edwards, member of the UK Youth Parliament for the Vale Of Glamorgan, said, “The people in the building behind me [the Senedd] and the people in Westminster have done very little when it comes to climate change, and it’s totally disgraceful I think.”

This is the second YouthStrike4Climate protest to be held in Wales’ capital following the protest on 15 February. Bryan, one of the speakers at today’s event, said, “I’ve written to the Welsh government to try and ask them to come out and support the protest. No response so far…”

Photo by Joshua Lowe
The protest signs showcased teenage flair for creativity and satire. Photo by Joshua Lowe.

The international movement has gathered considerable momentum, but it remains to be seen whether the under-18s actions will have an impact on the UK government.

One protester, Isabelle, said, “Lots of people do want change, but the government doesn’t want to listen to the youth because they’re not voting.”

Last month’s nation-wide strike was condemned by the government, however, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn supported the protesting teenagers.

 It appears that February’s protest had little effect. When climate was debated in Parliament on 28 February only a handful of MPs attended.

Demonstrators are aware that they still have work to do to force change. Protester, Evie Bamford, explained, “Hopefully, if we keep it up they will have to listen and they’ll have to make some change because they’ll see that this is what the future voters want. In order to get our votes, they’ll have to make some changes to the legislation and their manifestos.”

Evie Bamford, 18, “Lots of people from my school are here today, lots of my friends, and quite a few people from my year.” Photo by Joshua Lowe.

Even if politicians pay little attention to the demands of those below voting age, the public relations power of children’s voices has been acknowledged here in Cardiff. Cllr Michael Michael, Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment, said, “Our own Cardiff recycling campaign, which will start then in April… will have kids telling us how to recycle, telling people about the fines if they don’t recycle and so on.”

Photo by josh lowe of children at protest
A few families with young children, as well as teachers, accompanied the teenage protesters. Photo by Joshua Lowe.

Whether the teen-led protests will have any immediate effect remains to be seen, but the demonstrators have no intention to let up the pressure. Bryan, who also attended February’s protest, said, “I’m going to try and get to every single one [protests] if I can…”

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