“Why study for a future we won’t have?”

Thousands of school-children, from New York to Brussels, have skipped school in the name of climate change. There has been a growing frustration due to the fact that politicians either not care to listen to the voice of the youth, or don’t take the climate crisis seriously enough to make it a priority. Luckily, 16 year old Gretha Thunberg from Sweden has created a movement that allows us to unite and speak our mind regarding the environment. The idea is that if politicians and other world-leaders don’t care about our future, neither should we - there’s no point in preparing for a future that doesn’t exist. Therefore, skipping school to defend the planet is exactly what we have to do to open their eyes to such a serious and demanding topic. Now, people are striking in more than 1500 cities and one hundred countries.

The movement aims to put pressure on the current industries responsible for carbon emissions and those in power of letting that happen. The goal: to lower the emissions over the course of the next decade, in order to reduce the impact of global warming. In Stavanger, where we joined the climate strike this Friday, we specifically focused on the oil industry and demanded the stop of drilling in search for more oil and gas. Stavanger’s nickname is “The Oil Capital” of Norway, because the country’s oil industry is mostly based there. The strike went from the city hall to our city’s very own oil museum, as we chanted “Bruk hodet, vi har bare én klode” (Use your head, we only have one planet) and “Fuck regjeringen, stopp oljeleinvesteringen” (Fuck the government, stop the oil investments). It’s important to recognize that the oil industry has lead to a boost in wealth and contributed to making the country what it is today. Additionally, it’s a known fact that almost everyone living in Stavanger knows somebody working in the oil industry. Many people, especially the older generations, are therefore skeptical about a greener development because their wealth is as result of money made from gas and oil. As the industry poses a big threat to our future, it’s important that we use our voices to emphasize just how important it is to act now, at the same time as we recognize how the oil has helped the country grow, by contributing significantly to economic growth and financing the welfare state.

We demand lower carbon emissions to make way for a future where people don’t have to flee their lands, which their livelihoods has depended on for hundres of years, and a world where we don’t have to start wars to fight over resources as a consequence of more extreme weather. As the special climate report from the UN made clear in 2018, reaching 1.5ºC is possible but it requires unprecedented and urgent action. This movement is therefore vital and reminds us that the battle against climate change is far from over. This strike is symbolic, because it shows that the new generations are willing to literally walk the extra mile to ensure a sustainable future.

If you live in Norway, there will be an national strike the 22 of March and we hope you can all participate in the protest!