Caroline Lucas has told Devon school striker Sophie Sleeman that the climate change protests are “one of the most hopeful and inspiring things that have happened in many years”.
Sophie Sleeman is a 17-year-old #FridaysForFuture activist. #FridaysForFuture encourages children around the world to organise school climate strikes, led by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
She is one of more than 1.4 million children around the globe have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demand action from political leaders in response to climate change.
So we asked Sophie to interview Lucas for this week’s Youth Climate Action special edition Big Issue magazine.
And the former leader of the Green Party and current Green MP for Brighton told her: “What makes the climate strikes hopeful is that young people have a small number of very clear dramatic goals: they’re talking about democracy and the importance of young people having a say over their future.”
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
The ongoing strikes around the world have received mixed responses from UK politicians, notably being criticised by Theresa May.
Lucas urged the strikers to continue to demonstrate for change, encouraging them to push for a Green New Deal to equip the UK to address the climate crisis.
The group say: “We need to transform our economy and society at the speed necessary to prevent climate breakdown. We need to do what is required of us – not simply what is seen as politically possible.”
Excited to welcome @GretaThunberg to the UK next week.💚 Here's how you can support:
1️⃣ If you're under 25, hear Greta speak on Monday: https://t.co/jvMqR2nnMn
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) April 18, 2019
But the school protests have so far been just the tip of the iceberg, UK organisation Extinction Rebellion has brought areas of London to a standstill with a series of “shutdowns” that have seen more than 400 demonstrators arrested so far.
And Lucas is no in doubt of how important it is to focus young minds on tackling climate change – and that process starts in school. She said: “Declaring a climate emergency is really important, and a demand around an education system fit for the challenges we face.”