This Is Local London: Credit to Kaashvi Shah.Credit to Kaashvi Shah.

Climate change – you’ve heard of it, right? Climate change is a long-term shift in regional or global climate patterns and is currently recognized as the biggest threat to the future of humanity; and you’ll never guess what, the human race is the leading culprit in provoking this global catastrophe (oops)! However, the term ‘climate change’ is now one which is routinely slung about through households, general chit chat and the news – it’s in danger of falling onto deaf ears.

During the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the undeniable stress of each of our own problems, it IS difficult to devote a little more time to practice the things so frequently preached at us by scientists and communities; like recycling, saving electricity, buying products ONLY produced and sourced sustainably, using more public transport, avoiding meat and so the list goes on. Although these small everyday things can, of course, make a difference, many believe that the responsibility of making change should not be completely be burdened upon our shoulders, but instead its weight should mainly lie with our governments and the greater powers in the world. This definitely NOT silent majority call for BIG change and demand that their voices be heard.

From the 20th-27th September, Global Climate strikes occurred across the globe (including in Indonesia, south Africa, Canada, Senegal and more) and had a record breaking 7.6million people take to the streets according to, with media coverage on the New York Times, El País, CNN Indonesia, Vox, The Guardian, BBC and more. The tenacity of these ferocious groups of protestors could be seen through photos, read on their posters, and felt through their actions far and wide, but also closer than you may think.

Here in Essex, on 20th October, masses of students abandoned education and sought to assist a larger cause - the Westminster Youth Climate Strike and a smaller, yet no less relevant strike in Loughton. Being a student myself, I found myself looking at empty chairs each side of me in class and wandering through sparsely populated corridors. I thought that all these students who had rebelliously ‘bunked’ off school would be in huge trouble for doing so, but within my school community, my peers and I were encouraged to leave and fight for a greater cause and what we believed in. In fact, those who went were rewarded. Within the area, it was clear to see students from Bancroft’s School, Forest School, Chigwell School and so many more had gone to march. The youth of our neighbourhood and many more insisted their voices be heard, and they were.

The effects of the strike in Westminster were fantastic! They gained publicity all over the news and definitely caught the attention of residents in London, since it caused many problems with travel as students blocked the roads. Even arrests were made, however having spoken to some of my peers, this did not affect their desire to push on. I asked a handful of students who participated a series of questions, including why they went, what they felt they contributed and whether they would go again. One person said, ‘I feel strongly about making a change for the environment in any way I can. We made posters, spoke to tons of people and had a laugh. It was nice because a lot of people just like me were there. And, yeah – I would definitely do it again in the future since it’s going to have the biggest impact on our generation and future generations.’ From all the people I spoke to, this was the overall message I received. Some even said they were right at the forefront of the marches!

The strike in Loughton was small and those who went did their bit - the statement was made. But there will be many more opportunities for statements to be made in the future, as these strikes will continue, and I know the youth of Essex will continue to participate, and fight. As the repercussions of climate change are just waiting to condemn our Earth, we preach – ‘It’s time to act NOW’.

Shreya Valera