General Strike for Climate in Southampton

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Hundreds of Southampton residents, workers and students are expected to take part in mass climate actions today, Friday 20th September, as part of the international general strike for climate.

Extinction Rebellion Southampton in partnership with with environmental organisation Stand.earth, formerly ForestEthics, are kicking off the day of action by holding a protest at Carnival UK headquarters, Harbour Parade, starting at 7am until 10:15am. Demonstrators, dissatisfied with the cruise company’s environmental record, will demand Carnival Corporation to ‘fit all vessels for shore-side electricity as an alternative to liquified natural gas which is usually fracked’. The activists allege to ’cause disruptive actions’ to make their points heard. Then the group will take part in a funeral march from the Carnival HQ to Southampton guildhall by 11am.

The general strike at Guildhall will have stalls, activities, face painting, Rebel Art Blockers, clothes swaps and free food saved from landfill all present throughout the day.

Opening speeches and words from Alan Whitehead MP (Labour) for Southampton Test and Dr Roger Tyers PhD Research Fellow at the University of Southampton will take place from 11am-12pm, followed by a march with a samba band and litter pickers until 1pm which is sandwiched between more speeches from 1pm-2pm, with speakers including Cllr Steve Legett, Cabinet Member for Green City, and people’s assembly. From 2pm-3pm there will be a talk ‘Heading For Extinction (And What To Do About It)’ and from 3pm-4pm there will be ‘Action against fast fashion’ and closing remarks.

Ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit to be held for world leaders on Monday, today’s global mass demonstrations are expected to attract millions of climate activists – all demanding that those in power, politicians and corporations, take action against the imminent climate catastrophe. 

The mass movement was sparked by 15 year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunburg and has spread and grown across the world, along with the many campaign groups of Extinction Rebellion. Today’s strike is supported by many trade unions including the Universities and College Union, who have organised a lunchtime protest for students and staff to voice ways in which the University and Students’ Union can achieve the city’s Green City Charter pledge of carbon neutrality by 2030, as well as Unite the Union and the Trades Union Congress. Some employers, such as Lush cosmetics and outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, have encouraged employees to attend local actions, closing their stores for the day.

It promises to be an historic day in the global fight against climate change, with hopes of becoming, as dubbed by the media, the largest climate protest in history.

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Natural Sciences student and News & Investigations Editor 2019-20.

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