King Edward VI student Aaron McIntyre, 15, says Extinction Rebellion needs to change its tactics if it wants to gain more widespread support
Before I go on, the important thing to remember is that myself, like most people, completely understand the problem associated with climate change and can comprehend the disastrous effects that it will have on our planet.
Government after government refuses to tackle the issue and it is always viewed as ‘the next generation’s problem’, and thus is always ignored. However, this year has seemed to be the year that everything kicks off.
To millions of people, something that seemed to be a very different concept two years ago has now become a very real issue and, despite the way it has been handled, it comes as no great surprise that protests have sprung up not just nationally, but across the globe.
Unless one lives as a hermit, everybody has heard of the, Extinction Rebellion group and what it has been doing – blocking roads, skipping school and gluing themselves to trains.
Getting attention has thus been a big success but is time running out for them as much as it is for the planet?
First of all, stopping electric, yes electric trains running, simply seems counter-intuitive (it’s the greenest form of transport apart from biking and walking) but moreover, does their campaign really appeal to the masses? On television interviews, the only people being shown appear to be pensioners who want something to do, or members of the middle-class who have the money that they don’t have to work and can be causing the, ‘working man’, all the hassle.
As a member of the working class myself, their message doesn’t appeal in any way to me. I want to stop and then reverse climate change, I want world leaders to listen and I want this action now. Despite this, I’m left feeling somewhat isolated from a group of individuals that claim they want to protect my generation however fail to engage with a platform that can suit our needs.
So, what can be done? It is clear, in my opinion, to see that the Extinction Rebellion group have gone too far, with most certainly a positive message, but in a way that simply doesn’t interact with the masses.
At the other end of the spectrum is the sharing of awareness posts across social media but this seems to do too little. Something has to be done, there is no question about that, but for a national scheme to work it has to engage with the lives of the working classes – we make up the bulk of the population.
My message to the leaders of Extinction Rebellion: Don’t think we don’t care; we definitely do. But, if you want us to get involved, look at our needs. Don’t promote your cause as being run by the likes of Emma Thompson who ran up a three million carbon footprint flying to a protest but rather, give us something that is malleable for us. We want to help, but we can’t give up our education and day jobs for it. We want to help, but we don’t want our means to work being blocked. We want to help, so help us and then you’ll be helping yourselves.