It’s not about the climate - A Perspective on the Youth Climate Movement

We are at the beginning of the most important decade in history, the environmental movement made strives in 2019 but there is so much left to do and so much at stake. This year has already been coined the year of change; the next rebellion, COP26, and COY16 will play an instrumental part in making this happen. We believe young people will be key players in bringing about the change.

We need to create a new vision and direction for the movement, bring forth our demands when we have everything to lose.

What we want to work towards creating

At Extinction Rebellion Youth (XRY), we see ourselves as only one part of the larger climate justice youth movement and the movement of young people trying to create change across all different issues. This is our purpose and we want to work collaboratively with the larger movement to bring our vision to flourish.

Empowering and aiding our generation to discover our own agency

We are now in the time of young people recognising their stake in society. However, we are always told we are the future, but we are actually the present. We aim to aid young people in recognising their agency now and acting upon it.

Enabling support for (Re)building relationships: We see the value in coming together and creating community within our movement. Through project, initiatives and communication we work to create connections with existing organisations on a grassroot level to truly build resilience to strengthen the wider environmental movement.

Bringing about a global, youth led, fundamental educational shift

Out with the old and in with the new, young people spend years of our lives in dysfunctional ‘education’ systems. These systems perpetuates negative behaviours and narratives that reinforces the myths of development and is complicit in causing the climate crisis. We need to enable a radical participatory shift in how education and knowledge is shared, one in which global justice and colonialism is the core.

Creating global youth solidarity

We acknowledge we have young people from communities across the world who share common ground. We build connections of solidarity to aid the building of a global movement.

If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

  • Lilla Watson

Holding power to account

The dynamism of youth is valuable in holding power accountable, Whether that in our own organisation (Extinction Rebellion (XR)) or in the environmental movement and society at large. We recognise to build a better future we need a generational power shift and radical intergenerational relationships that are built on trust and accountability.

Providing positive visions to highlight the necessity for change

At this point in time we stand to lose everything from a combination of climate breakdown and fascism but at the same time we have an incredible chance to make huge leaps forward through social movements if we play our cards right. We are in uncertain times and much is in motion

We rebel against the dysfunctional and toxic system we live in, that causes pain and sorrow to the earth, animals and humans, through holding the reimaged image of the future.

You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time

  • Angela Davis

Building grassroots community with a common cause

We work on finding what is uniting young people and base our future actions upon that. We believe there are things which young people have in common across borders and throughout communities across the world and that this could form the basis of a globally connected movement capable of creating real change

To create a youth led radical revolutionary response to the global crisis

We need a new narrative to approach the global crisis and we think young people will be key in shaping the response.

One of the strengths of the youth is to challenge what has been previously set, what is expected, outdated and overused. In this we challenge an older, more established voice that has overpowered and dictated us to a place of disaster, and in doing so has placed an immense burden on those who are inheriting this earth. We must move power into the hands of those who are most likely to undermine the systems that have brought us to this catastrophe, namely youth, in solidarity and collaboration with all other oppressed groups.

To create spaces for the expression and development of radical youth cultures

We need an explosion of youth culture. We need to reimagine society, through the arts and innovation. There needs to be space created to hold this, both physically and emotionally.

Its not about the climate

We acknowledge that the climate crisis is a symptom of the toxic society which we live in. Our work is so much more than the climate. We don’t want a ‘sustainable’ version of a system that marginalises and exploit. We believe that young people are the key element in a creating a movement of movements around social justice which challenges the system of power we live in.

We, pussy riot, went out to the square because we dreamed of a different history. Because the one in which the President turned into an emperor was not the one we desired. We were sick of lies. Of the unchanging, dismal lies broadcast on TV, the endless, groundless promises of a happy life

A long and happy life

Riot is always a thing of beauty. That’s how I got interested. At school, I had this dream of becoming a graffiti artist and I practiced graffiti in my school notepad. If you start your school work on the first page and do your sketches in the back, sooner or later the two will meet in the middle.

And, next to your history notes, graffiti appears.

Which turns history into a different story

  • Maria Alyokhina