Youth voice at Haringey climate justice rally

November 8, 2021

Ollie Opara speaks before Catherine West (Shadow Foreign Minister and Labour MP for Hornsey & Wood Green), David Lammy (Shadow Justice Secretary and Labour MP for Tottenham), Adam Jogee, Mayor of Haringey: photo provided by Quentin Given, Tottenham & Wood Green, Friends of the Earth

Olivia Opara delivers powerful speech before local politicians

If you keep taking and taking, what will be left for us?

If you keep hurting the planet, how do you expect us to truly live?

Young people are the future of humanity yet humanity has dealt us a deck of disenfranchisement, disaster and dismay. We now live in a constant state of anxiety about our future that is shrouded in an onslaught of climate catastrophes. How can you expect us to have promising prospects when our perspective of tomorrow is of doom?

The older generations, you had the privilege of being able to go about your life without having to bounce between the polarity of the: “Earth is fine”, “the Earth is dying”. The fact that you did not have to grow up watching the very world that you live in perish is a privilege in and of itself.

We are least responsible, yet we shoulder most of the consequences.

And I ask you: how is that fair?

Eco-anxiety amongst young people is very real and is on a rise

The developed world has selfishly caused most of this catastrophe and yet remains adamant that it should be the global south who should try to develop more greenly. Have you forgotten that it is the young people in developing countries that will suffer and are suffering the most from the effects of climate change that is worsening?

Cyclone Ana paying untimely visits. States going cold. Smothering heatwaves in America. Floods and wildfires across Asia and Europe. Droughts plague Africa. The Amazon dying. Animals disappearing. Natural habitats desolate. Natural resources massively depleted.

We have been betrayed. Ignored. Abandoned.

And yet young people have been proactive, in our own ways. We have been more conscious of how our actions affect the planet. We are thrifting more as a result of being more self-aware of our contributions to fast fashion; protesting more to hold those with power to account; learning more by having these discussions.

Eco-anxiety amongst young people is very real and is on a rise. We cannot be the only ones who care about the Earth, about our home. So, listen when we voice our concerns and take action.

Be proactive. Be the change. Act now!

Crowd applauds as Ollie delivers her powerful speech: photo provided by Quentin Given, Tottenham & Wood Green, Friends of the Earth

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