Last Friday morning I pulled on my over-trousers and wellies in preparation for the Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate (BYS4C) event in College Green. The foul weather didn’t deter the crowds, approximately 15,000 people gathered to hear Greta Thunberg speak.
Like many of the protesters, I travelled on the train to Bristol. It was quite a squeeze, standing room only! There was a real feeling of camaraderie, with people actually speaking to each other. I walked into the city centre with some of the ladies I met on the train, who had previously been protesting against fracking and the Bristol Airport expansion.
When we arrived at College Green it was a sea of protest signs, flags and umbrellas. It was mostly young adults and children but there were also parents, grandparents and quite a few babies gathered to give their support. The event organisers were blasting out Queen and The Beatles on the PA system. Rather ironically they played Here Comes the Sun.
There were a number of speakers including Mya-Rose Craig, a birdwatcher and equal rights campaigner. Unfortunately the PA system was too quiet and it was difficult to hear what they were saying. Thankfully they resolved these issues before Ms Thunberg came onto the stage.
When Greta arrived, there was a real excitement. She came onto the stage with chants of ‘Greta, Greta’. Her speech was concise but meaningful. She talked about how those in power are not doing enough and are ignoring the climate emergency. She also spoke on how activism is effective referring to the plan to expand Bristol Airport being rejected by councillors in light of the protests. Greta then led the march down Park Street followed by the excitable and rather wet crowd.
Greta is an eloquent speaker. I think her no-nonsense approach is inspiring. Every movement needs a great leader and Greta ticks all the boxes. Seeing all the young people protesting on Friday and witnessing their passion and enthusiasm has made me more optimistic about the future of our planet. It shows that age is not an issue in striving for change.
I’ll leave you with some of my favourite protest signs:
-The World is getting hotter than Harry Styles-
-Strive for a Greta future-
-Are you a fossil fool?-
-Climate change is gert unlush-