A small group of youth activists locked their necks to the U.K. Parliament’s gates Friday to demand urgent government action to address the global climate crisis while young people worldwide took to the streets as part of the weekly school climate strike.
The demonstration came two days after Parliament made history by passing a motion put forth by Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn to declare an environment and climate emergency.
But, as Extinction Rebellion London said on Twitter, “a declaration is not enough.”
“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” 14 members of Extinction Rebellion Youth—aged 13 to 23—wrote in a letter to Parliament on Friday, detailing why they decided to lock themselves to the gates.
“The government’s inaction up to this point has compelled us to act, and although we do not want to be doing this, we feel we have no choice.”
The letter included a pair of demands to follow Parliament’s emergency declaration:
- Act Now—to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emission to net zero by 2025.
- Beyond Politics—create and be led by a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
“By meeting our demands a future could be secured for not only our generation but all those still to come, but not doing so will condemn us further,” they wrote. “We are currently locked onto your gates and in doing this, hope to highlight our dependency on the government’s actions and our desperation.”
The youth activists said they planned to stay locked to the gates for three hours on Friday, and warned that “if we do not see change in the coming weeks, we will have no choice but to escalate our actions further.”
The promise for bolder activism comes as a growing number of people in the United Kingdom consider the climate crisis a top priority for government action, according to polling released earlier this week.
Surging public support for ambitious climate policies and Parliament’s vote Wednesday followed a series of attention-grabbing demonstrations coordinated by Extinction Rebellion. In addition to the youth at Parliament’s gates, members of the group also joined the climate strikes in the United Kindgom and around the world on Friday: