This September is set to be one of the biggest mobilisations worldwide on climate change, with thousands of people set to hit the streets here in the UK alone. Now is the time for adults to support the school strikers who have been bravely refusing to attend school over global leaders’ inaction on the crisis.
And because it’s gained so much momentum there are likely going to be people there who’ve never taken part in a protest before. So here is our beginner’s guide to taking part in the mobilisation this September.
Be weather wise
Although some of us are still in denial about summer being over, it’s probably a good idea to be prepared and layer up for this one. You never know how long you’re going to end up staying and given that this may be your first time protesting, sod’s law means that it’s probably either going to rain or a surprise heat wave will hit. So bring a sturdy rucksack with enough room for extra layers, an umbrella, a raincoat and even sun cream.
As well making sure you’re not cold, another priority for ensuring a positive protest experience is keeping rumbling tummies at bay. So whether it’s a little snack or a fully prepped pack lunch it’s best to whip out those reusable containers and water bottles to give you the energy you need for the day. A thermos of hot chocolate, tea or coffee to last is also essential if it’s going to be cold. You could even go one step further and take food to share with all the lovely people you meet.
With so many people expected to take part, mobilisations like this can be overwhelming and getting lost in the crowd can happen. Making sure you have someone with you who always knows where you are is a good way to avoid this. Having a fully charged phone as back-up is also worth it just in case.
Be open minded
If you’re new to these spaces it can feel a little alien, especially when there’s lots of people who find it’s almost second nature to take part in protests. A top tip is to remain open-minded. Not everyone there will be like you but when it comes to tackling climate change the wider the variety of people wanting to help the better. And who knows, you might even make some new friends.
One of the best things about going on a demonstration is the opportunity it brings to be super creative. Making a banner or a sign is a lot of fun and if you’re short of inspiration, check out our blogpost on the best signs from the last school strike. The Global Climate Strike website also have a whole section on their website dedicated to help get your creative juices flowing.
Share your experience
If you have a moment before, during or after the march, make sure you use your social networks and get talking with friends, family or colleagues who didn’t make it. Tell them about your experience, show them your favourite signs and chat to them about why you went. That way you’re more likely to inspire wider action on climate change.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
Although this is a peaceful protest, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario in case there is heavy police presence. The best place to clue up on what to do if you’re threatened with arrest at a demonstration is the Green & Black Cross who not only have a support helpline but cover the key messages you need to know when using your right to protest.
Channel that energy
And lastly if you want to keep up the momentum after the strike, why not think about donating your time or money to the youth strikers or other organisations taking action on climate change. You could even join a local group or write to your MP asking them to support a specific change in policy. Whatever you do, try to turn the energy you get from going to this protest into something positive and continue to support the climate movement.
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