Striking for Climate under Lockdown

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Issue 320
May/June 2020
Stubborn Optimism

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Striking for Climate under Lockdown
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Cover: Lake Mungo National Park, Australia by Russell Curr www.russellcurr.com

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School strikers are meeting the challenge of the Covid-19 crisis, writes Dominique Palmer.

Photograph by Talia Woodin

Photograph by Talia Woodin

During the climate and ecological emergency, the world is now facing another crisis: Covid-19. These are frightening times, but we are still here, and we are not powerless. The coronavirus outbreak has led climate activists to switching tactics, including taking the fight online to keep the momentum going. As climate activists, we are listening to the scientists, experts and authorities who advise against large mass gatherings, and we are replacing our large strikes with online gatherings. This is especially relevant in light of the recent lockdown within the UK. We are changing tactics in order to contain the spread of the virus and ensure that the climate crisis is not forgotten.

The climate and ecological crisis is the biggest threat that humanity has ever faced, and as climate activists we know that we need fast unprecedented action to transition to a zero-carbon economy. However, we must still take the coronavirus seriously and not pose a health risk by striking.

It is essential that we all stay together during these times, connect and stand in solidarity with one another, even though we cannot take to the streets, so we have organised various different online actions that all can participate in. Climate strikers are taking the strikes online by posting photos of themselves with their signs using the campaign hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline, and spreading awareness of this internationally through Fridays For Future socials.

Twitter storms in which activists send tweets and messages directed at government officials, and phone banking in which activists call government officials are also ways to make our presence felt, even if we are not on the streets.

New campaigns such as Polluters Out, a youth-led campaign to kick polluters out of climate conferences, are taking direct digital action. The UK Student Climate Network in collaboration with Extinction Rebel- lion Youth are using national cyber storms to block major polluters communication channels. Addition- ally, Fridays For Future are hosting Talks for Future. New weekly webinars and discussions with scientists, activists, journalists and other international high-level experts will be streamed on YouTube, Twitter and Face- book in order to continue climate awareness.

As climate activists we recognise that this struggle is intersectional with other movements, and that we must all come together. In trying times like this, it is crucial that we help our local communities. Activists across the UK have set up mutual aid groups to support the most vulnerable members in these areas. Local communities banding together show hope for the future, in that it is possible for us to fight the climate crisis.

We must continue to make our presence felt, and be a constant reminder to all that we are still fighting. You can show solidarity with us by joining our online climate strike and weekly webinars, and by supporting our new campaigns. Keep posted on the UKSCN and Fridays For Future socials!

Dominique Palmer is a climate activist and organiser within the UK Student Climate Network and Fridays For Future International.

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