Supporting young people to demand action for our future

Thursday 5 September 2019

Wave Climate Change march, London December 5, 2009

On 20th September, the world will pause for the global youth and earth climate strikes. We want to support young people all over the country and around the world who are calling for urgent climate action. At the RSPB we are encouraging our staff, volunteers and members to take part too, in whatever way suits them best: joining peaceful climate protests, running climate-themed activities with the public on our reserves, show-casing the amazing work we do to restore nature and tackle climate change, or sharing their support on social media and at events across the country. At this crucial moment for the planet, everyone should have the opportunity to take part – when we all work together, we can make an incredible difference.

There is resounding scientific evidence that human-made climate change is the greatest threat to nature and people. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was clear that we have just 10 years to curb global warming to 1.5 degrees and avoid the most severe impacts of climate change for people and nature. These impacts include species extinctions, coral reefs dying, increased air pollution, displacement of communities by drought and sea level rise, food and water shortages as natural resources become less predictable or accessible, increase in heat-related deaths and the spread of diseases. All of these impacts are cited in United Nations (UN) IPCC reports, which are written by scientists and agreed by governments that are part of the UN, including ours.

We know nature is a critical part of the solution – our greatest defence against changes to our climate. Woodlands, wetlands, grasslands and peatlands protect us from flooding, store carbon and clean our air, as well as provide homes for wildlife. But our natural world is in crisis – 15% of species assessed in the State of Nature Report are extinct or at threat of extinction in Great Britain, we only have 2% cover of ancient woodland left in the UK, the UK has lost 90% of its wetlands in the last 100 years and over 80% of our peatlands are damaged. This severely undermines our natural defences to climate change. For example, a loss of only 5% of the UK’s peatland carbon would equate to the total annual human-made greenhouse gas emissions for the country. We need to restore nature and invest in natural solutions to the climate crisis.

Young people around the world will inherit the consequences of human-made climate change and they are the last generation to be able to do something about it. We admire and support their bravery to take extraordinary measures to raise the alarm for our planet.

So when young people across the UK asked everyone to join them on 20th September to demand action on climate change, we couldn’t say no. We’ve seen the power that people can have when they join together. We’ve been campaigning for nature since our founders Emily, Eliza and Etta established the Society to stop the killing of exotic birds for the fashion industry in 1889. They too built public support for wildlife, organised marches, and persuaded politicians. Hundreds of other organisations and groups agree with us that we need to support our young people on the 20th September. From health professionals to business leaders, from the LGBTQ community to the Black Lives Matter movement, from environmental charities to faith charities – everyone is standing together on this day. Because climate and ecological crisis affects everyone.

We hope our members and supporters feel empowered to act for climate change and nature too, and we invite everyone to join us to save our natural world.

If you want to find out where your local strike is to take part go to www.ukscn.org , or if you have any questions about the RSPB’s support, please contact campaigns@rspb.org.uk

Tagged with: Country: UK Topic: Campaigns