• ‘If you won’t act like adults, we will’: The Big Issue’s Youth Climate Action Takeover

‘If you won’t act like adults, we will’: The Big Issue’s Youth Climate Action Takeover

Issue 1355

‘If you won’t act like adults, we will’: The Big Issue’s Youth Climate Action Takeover


When Greta Thunberg painted these words on a placard and stood outside the Swedish parliament in August last year, the then 15-year-old started a global movement.

Thunberg’s ‘school strike for climate’ captured the imagination of millions of children around the world who now regularly walk out of schools on Fridays to raise their concerns about climate change and the inaction of people in power to tackle what they believe will be the defining crisis of the century.

The voices of children are seldom heard in society but often they have the most to say. That’s why this week, to coincide with Earth Day, we’ve let some of the UK’s leading young environmentalists and climate campaigners to take control over the pages.

They share with us their biggest issue and what is motivating them to take action. They write about what they think you need to know, from the findings of the most exhaustive environmental research to how we can reconnect with nature.

We also gave them the opportunity to holding people in positions in power to account, including Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove, and challenge Ofsted about the way schools themselves address their own sustainability.

What is clear is that these young people are full of energy, inspiration and hope – and most crucially of all, are fully armed with the facts, better informed than adults and bursting with ideas about what society has to do to save itself.

The future may be uncertain but the determination and resolution of those who will be future leaders is not.

Inside this week

  • Sustainable fashion with M&S. Four young people went to M&S’s HQ to find out how their clothes are helping care for the planet. They quiz experts about the design and manufacture process, inspect a swimsuit made from recycled plastic bottles, find out how cotton is grown sustainably and how leather and wool products prioritise animal welfare
  • Michael Gove interviewed by 16-year-old George Bond from Dorset, a campaigner for the UK Youth Climate Coalition. Topics include tree planting targets, fracking, Heathrow expansion, votes at 16 and manure
  • Climate change and the curriculum. Ismay Lewis, Kamila Chamcham, Rasha Alsouleman and Lucy Gibbons, all 15 from Oxford, launched a petition to get the climate crisis on the national curriculum. So far it’s got about 70,000 signatures
  • This week’s Letter To My Younger Self is with Slits icon Viv Albertine

And much more. Get your Big Issue on the streets now.