Children 1st support young people's climate strike
Children across the globe are coming together to tell us that without action on climate change they fear they have no future, writes Children 1st Chief Executive Mary Glasgow.
At Children 1st, our amazing staff and volunteers tell me they are motivated to work with us because they believe children are the future. One of our core roles as Scotland’s national children’s charity is to support and amplify the voices and concerns of children and young people. This is why I believe we must all back the young climate strikers tomorrow (Friday 20 September).
The world has never seen children speak so powerfully and clearly with a single message. This is an international alarm call for every adult about the climate crisis we face. According to 15 year old Dylan Hamilton, an MSYP and one of the many young people who have got involved in the Scottish Youth Climate Strike, children will be bringing alarm bells to the strike to symbolise that “the world, especially those in power, need to wake up to the climate crisis and join the fight to stop it.”
Young climate strikers asked Children 1st and other charities to join them and support their right to be heard, and their demands for change. We are a charity that has worked for 135 years to prevent harm, to protect children and to support children to recover from trauma and abuse by providing services, championing their rights and campaigning for change. We would be failing in our mission if we do not stand shoulder to shoulder with children and young people on Friday and during the week of action which follows.
Many of the children and families we work with in Scotland are already facing shocking levels of poverty and adversity. They are the people who will be hit hardest by climate change and they have the least resources to cope. Families already tell us of the stark choices they have to make between heating or eating. As the extremes in hot and cold temperatures grow and food prices rise because of the climate crisis – what choices will they have left?
Children have a right to grow up in a healthy and safe environment, a right to survive and to develop to their full potential. The climate crisis places all of these, and every other right, in jeopardy. As the international federation of children’s rights organisations, Terre des Hommes points out: “environmental protection is child rights protection.” Unless children, whether in Scotland or any other country around the world, can grow in a healthy and safe environment and can look forward to a sustainable future, none of their other rights can be fully enjoyed.
So, Children 1st colleagues, supporters, volunteers and partners will be cheering on the climate strikers across Scotland on Friday because a demand for action on climate change is a demand for action on children’s rights. We’ll be standing with children and young people because addressing climate change will also address some of the issues that make life even harder for the children and families we support. They need decent housing, better transport links and a cleaner environment.
However most of all, we’ll be backing them because all our futures depend on it.
(A version of this article first appeared in The Herald).