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Are You Walking Out or Walking In?

September 2019 by Emma Richards

The Skolstrejk För Klimatet (School Strike for Climate) began just over a year ago when a single, determined child – Greta Thunberg – sat down outside the Swedish Parliament.

Since then, the school strike has grown into a global movement of passionate students striking from school one Friday per month, protesting against government inaction in tackling the climate emergency and demanding “climate justice now!”

This week, on Friday the 20th of September, millions of people around the world will be leaving work to join the Global Climate Strike and stand in solidarity with the School Strikers – helping to amplify their voices and demonstrate the ever-increasing concern that citizens of all ages (not just children) share globally, for the fate of our planet, our home.

In the UK we’re relatively fortunate in that we now have a legally binding zero-carbon date of 2050, but whilst we have a target, nothing like enough is being done, nor quickly enough, to meet this commitment.

This is why it is imperative that you show your support for the Global Climate Strike on the 20th.

Friday is likely to cause some disruption – to travel, to productivity, and (short-term) to profits.  However, the disruption of a few hours, on a single day, caused by the climate strike is already being dwarfed by the disruption and damage to productivity, profit, and normal life that is already occurring as we fail to get a grip on the climate crisis.

Burton, an outdoor and snowboarding brand, is closing its offices and ceasing trading for the day, providing community spaces within their stores both before and after the strikes and enabling staff to get involved – a very tangible demonstration of their commitment to solving the climate crisis.

Inevitably, some organisations will put their fingers in their ears and pretend “it’s not happening…”

But how are you and your organisation going to get involved?

We believe that as an individual and part of an organisation that cares about the planet, and is committed to helping solve the biggest challenge of our generation, that you’re going to want to get involved and show your support. So what are your options?

1 – Walk- Out

Your organisation can support the Strike very directly by:

  1. Offering unpaid leave to staff who wish to take the day to join the strikes.
  2. Offering extended lunch breaks to people wanting to take part in strike action.
  3. Allowing staff the option of taking the day as a holiday.
  4. Allowing the use of flexi-time to participate.

We’ll be at the Manchester Strike, but you can find the one nearest one to you and your organisation using this helpful map.

2 – Walk-In

Obviously not every organisation can close down completely for the day. Some organisations provide essential services to support others or essential infrastructure, or cannot allow all on-call or essential-service staff to stop working at the same time. (What would we do without our health, police, and fire services?) But for organisations like these, there are other ways to show their support.

If you’re not able to join the strike itself, why not arrange a ‘Walk-In’ – a day of concentrated action within your organisation to raise awareness of the Climate Emergency, the Climate Strike, action on climate and its purpose?

This could take the form of a briefing, a workgroup looking at your organisation’s targets, ideas, actions and opportunities to act, a planning session, a practical action session, a climate change film or video, a work-gang carrying out a practical task, engagement with your customers or suppliers, work in your community…. the list is literally endless.

However, the important thing is that you do something.

We’d love to hear what your organisation is doing to support the Global Climate Strike so that we can share what you’re doing and inspire others to take action.

On Friday let’s all move decisively, from being part of the problem to becoming part of the solution.

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