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What do we want: Climate justice! When do we want it: NOW!

November 24, 2021

By Linde Schouffoer

At the station it was crowded, people from all generations came to Amsterdam by train. Students, adults, mothers with children and grandparents. The climate march is something that is important for everyone, because it's about our future. There were many parents with (young) children, but also adults and elderly people who are concerned about the world they are leaving behind for their children and grandchildren. More and more people are asking themselves this question and they think about what they can do. Some choose to eat vegetarian, others choose sustainable transport options and others buy solar panels. People try in their own way to contribute, but that's not enough. The purpose of the climate march was for politicians and multinationals to take action. There are also changes needed on a larger scale, our good intentions as citizens will not get us there.

Photo made by Annemay Slijkoord

The fact that we need to take action was something that I realized once again through a family who went to the climate strike together. Grandma, son and granddaughter stood side by side with all three holding signs. Grandma had a banner with: ‘Mijn kleinkinderen willen ook nog moeder AARDE’ (My grandchildren want mother EARTH too). The father had a banner that read: ‘Kop in het zand = geen oplossing. Je reet wordt nog steeds HEET’ (Head in the sand = no solution. Your ass still gets HOT). The daughter held up a banner that read: ‘Waarom verpest je mijn TOEKOMST’ (Why are you ruining my FUTURE). All three banners matched each other well, you can see it as a dialogue.

The grandmother would like for her children to have mother earth just like she had. With this sign she tries to show the nature of the problem. The father makes a sneer at the way politics and multinationals are handling climate-change problems and he makes it clear that it can not go on like this. He shows that politicians and multinationals really need to take action. The daughter shows that if things continue like this and the multinationals and politicians keep their ‘head in the sand’, she does not have the future that her grandmother would like her to have. She shows her concern about the problem, because she is most likely the last of the family to be left on this earth. In my opinion, these three banners are a good representation of why different generations are going to protest.

The people who walked along in the strike were very diverse. This makes the climate march a special one because it is a protest that does not exclude anyone. Music along the route made the atmosphere good. There were also many people along the route that made the march more enjoyable. Children stood from a window watching the people walk down their street. Although the children were not only watching from the window, they also joined in the march on their little bikes. All in all, the atmosphere was super nice. That the atmosphere was fine did not detract from the message people had. It should not be forgotten that these people were angry, angry because the state of affairs has not been right. Change must come and it must come now!

The need for action was also evident in the speech prior to the march. During this speech a woman told us that she was ashamed, she was ashamed because no action has been taken and now even children and young people have to protest to get attention from politics and multinationals. Children were not only the focus of her speech, children (specifically youth) had a special place within the march. Something that was also noticeable through the youth block in the march, as young people were invited to lead the way along with youth organizations working for the climate. This was also to be seen during the speeches after the march in the Westerpark. Three speakers were young people, two belonged to Fridays for Future and the other was the UN youth representative Human Rights & Security. I noticed that they fell under the category of youth, but that was not the only thing. I also noticed that they were very diverse speakers, which again shows that this march reaches all areas of society.

The climate crisis is a complex problem. You cannot think of an overnight solution. Hopefully, this post has made you think about your own position on the climate change problem. The climate march wanted to draw attention to climate change and possible solutions, mainly solutions in the business world and politics. However, through small actions you can also contribute. So take a moment to think about what you can do and try to make one sustainable choice. The documentary: ‘Seat at the table’ on youtube is a nice way of educating yourself on this topic. Other things you can consider are: eating vegetarian once in a while, buying second hand/vintage clothing, using public transport, consuming less and so on and so forth. You might be thinking, is my more sustainable choice really helping the problem? If everyone chooses to make one sustainable choice, the world will eventually become more beautiful.

Photo made by Linde Schouffoer

Link Seat at the table

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