I pushed my way through the crowds, breathing in the crisp morning air. It was a sunny morning, perfect for protesting. When I got to my usual spot, I thrusted my sign high up in the air for everyone to see. A chant started up with the usual lyrics, addressing the fact that the government weren’t doing enough to help the climate emergency. I joined in, shouting at the top of my lungs.
This was my routine every Friday, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to be there, I wanted to be in school. I wanted to be learning about explorers that lived a hundred years ago, or about far away lands, or even something so boring as conjugating French verbs. But I couldn’t, not on a Friday, because I had to be there.
It’s not that I despise protesting or anything, nor is anyone forcing me to go. No, it’s the fact that I had to be there in the first place. I knew that if I didn’t protest every Friday outside the Dáil, there wouldn’t be any change. We, the children of the nation, shouldn’t have to sacrifice our education because we need to secure a safe and just future for ourselves.
By noon, my feet were aching and my voice going hoarse, but I carried on all the same. I took my water bottle out and took a long gulp, the cooling water quenching any thirst that I had. If only the hot dry climates that were suffering the worst from climate change could just take a long drink of water, and wash all of its threats and worries away.
As I was eating my dinner, I could hear the six o’clock news on in the background. They were going through the usual reports of foreign elections and daily weather, and then they cut to a live clip of the Taoiseach addressing the public. He was announcing plans for a climate action bill to be put into motion in the near future.
I couldn’t believe it! Maybe we were being heard after all. It wasn’t huge, but it was a start. And as I lay in bed that night, I couldn’t help but smile to myself. Yes, I was going to be protesting again next Friday, and that bit probably wouldn’t change for the foreseeable future, but maybe, just maybe, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
“This story highlights the importance of the climate emergency and shows that everyone can do something to help create a better future. Well done to this pupil for taking action and for writing about her/his activism.”
— Dr Richard Barlow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore