This speech was given by a young Mozambican student, who has been participating in the climate strikes.

discurso 20.09.2019

Thank you for bringing yourself to the street!

Millions of people have taken to the streets today to show that we are paying attention to the climate science, and that we will not stand for the destruction of the natural world and the heart-breaking consequences that it will continue to have on our human civilisation. Everything that we have built, everything that we take for granted, including democracy, is at stake if we don’t take a hard look at ourselves and move away from the material greed that has led to this unprecedented environmental challenge in the first place. We need to do this while acknowledging the toxic system that we live in and how difficult these lifestyle changes are, especially for those less privileged, without a recognition and genuine initiative from government. But we can’t wait for that to get started, and I think we know that. In fact, I think that is why we are all here. We need to put pressure on our governments, and we need to reject business as usual! History has shown us that for this to happen we need mass mobilisation. We need civil disobedience.

We are here because we recognise the unfortunate reality that has led young activists to resort to school strikes in order to make their concerns about the state of the climate and the natural world heard. We also recognise the NECESSITY for young people to make their message heard across the world. They have the most to lose. We have to rise above our material obsession and engage in the democratic exercise of reforming our economies and public policies.

We are going to need a massive global collective effort. And that starts here. Why? Because we are here. We have to inspire by example and build bridges to those who have lost hope. We need governments to set clear goals that are realistic, and to legislate accordingly. We need international colaboration because climate change doesn’t know borders, and we can’t really call ourselves civilised if we don’t recognise the impacts we have on other countries. Even if our streets are clean and we have a diploma. We are here today with the deepest respect for our habitable planet: the host of our adventures, and with a relentless drive to preserve our civilisation, and protect our lifeline: the natural environment. We have to protect the beautiful living species of this planet that are now have to face the consequences of our polluting and destructive habits. On average, an area of tree cover the size of the United Kingdom was lost every year between 2014 and 2018.1 Forests, mangroves, marshes, peatbogs, seabeds, coral reefs, kelp forests, swamps, all work as natural climate solutions.2 They are carbon sinks; and so we have to invest in, protect, and restore, these wild habitats!

We must restrict global warming to below 1.5 C (post-industrial levels) to avoid setting off runaway climate change. If we continue the way we are now, by 2030 we will set off a chain reaction and then it will be too late!3 We need policies that allow life to flourish on Earth and facilitate a just and urgent transition away from fossil fuels and greenhouse gases, and into renewable energy. We can still fix this! The solutions are here. At the end of Extinction Rebellion’s April Rebellion, a mural emerged in Marble Arch, and this is what it said: “From this moment despair ends, and tactics begin”. Change is due. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.

Fabio Mendes 20.09.2019

3IPCC

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