Inspired by a growing global movement, 15 teenagers formed Climate Strike Leicester (CSL) in 2019. Within seven months the group had organised a city centre climate strike with 800 protestors. “We did it all by ourselves…No adults were in the room. It was just us teenagers” one of the founders recalled.
There has been support for environmental activism in Leicester for half a century. The Leicester Environmental Action Group (LEAG) formed in 1972 following a series of lectures on the environment at Vaughan College, inspiring a generation of activists. LEAG successfully opposed road expansion schemes, promoted recycling and the rewilding of derelict urban spaces.
They organised tree-planting programmes and staged protests to curb car use, including a race between a car, bicycle, and bus from Humberstone to the headquarters of BBC Leicester. The LEAG eventually merged into Leicester Friends of the Earth.
The climate crisis is our most serious and dangerous threat, affecting all of and demanding life changes by all of us. As this story shows, activism crosses generations and can involve everyone in the choices we make on a daily basis. Possible solutions start with collective action for more sustainable ways of living. So what does that mean in practice? Draw up a plan of action in your home, your place of work or study and your neighbourhood.
There needs to be systemic change at national and international levels, so people need also to be involved in wider social movements and mass action.