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  • Writer's pictureKate Fox

No-one is too Small to Make a Difference!

It is no coincidence that Greta Thunberg decided to make a last minute visit to Bristol. From just 2 activists, the city has morphed into an epicentre for the UK climate movement, reflecting Thunberg’s own steadfast belief that no one is too small to make a difference.

Greta Thunberg makes a speech and leads the youth climate strike march in Bristol.

It is this unwavering passion that incentivised 25,000 people to descend upon Bristol today to hear her speak and join in a climate march around the city. The enormity of her following forced the town centre to enter lock down, excluding traffic between 9am-4pm.

Everything was against a good turn-out. Short notice, relentless rain and the Coronavirus; now causing a domino cancellation effect of major international gatherings as Hollywood-style panic takes hold.

Contrary to normal expectations, crowds enthusiastically battled Storm Jorge just to get a glimpse of the girl that has risen from isolated activist outside her country’s parliament to a revered climate icon. Her timeless pig-tail plaits, challenging quizzical stare and yellow rain mac; now classic Greta trade-marks.

Greta Thunberg gives an inspiring speech at Youth Climate Strike March in Bristol

More in keeping with a film star, the crowds roared with excitement as she finally made her way to the stage at College Green. In her usual black and white no-prisoners-style, Greta’s speech held the guilty to account.

“It’s up to us to be the adults in the room. It should not be this way. We should not be the ones who will have to lead on this and tell the uncomfortable truth. Once again they sweep their mess under the rug, for us young people, for their children, to clean up for them.

Youth Climate Strike Activists want the voting age lowered to 16 years of age.

Although a mixed crowd, there was an undeniable youthful element. With the climate crisis threatening their future, there was an understandable exasperation that their democratic rights would not be taken into account until they reached 18 years of age.

Saffie, a young girl from a local secondary school, although clearly excited to see Greta, was driven by concerns for animal extinctions and other injustices of the climate crisis. In particular “the fact that the people who contribute least to the problem are having to deal with the worst consequences.”

This week saw the application for a 3rd Runway at Heathrow Airport ruled contrary to the Paris Climate Agreement.

While The Guardian reports that “coronavirus fears trigger biggest one-day fall on US stock market” and “could inflict as much damage as 2008 crisis,” climate strike activists in Bristol were motivated by more tangible humanitarian concerns.

Although Saffie discussed Coronavirus concerns with her mother she “decided it wasn’t the most important thing.” This is the power that Greta now has and doesn’t bode well for politicians who are hoping to put this issue on the back burner for the next prime minister to sort out.

Environmentally Friendly Police Keeping guard over the climate march in Bristol

Passion for resolving the climate crisis runs deep in Bristol. Although late for work, Georgina Hamilton, a local waitress said “it’s amazing to watch people walking past today. It brought tears to my eyes….as a generational thing we are getting more to grips with what’s actually happening around us and I think the disruption side is the least important thing.”

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