Peace, Justice and Scarlett Westbrook

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

You'll have heard of 16 year old Scarlett Westbrook, I guess.  If you haven't then you're really not keeping up!  She is head of political engagement at Teach the Future and a key figure in the UK Student Climate Network, UKSCN.  She was a speaker at the January 17th launch of the new Project for Peace and Justice.  You can catch her talk here.  It starts 11 minutes 50 seconds in and lasts about 5 minutes.  I'm assuming it gives something of an insight into the thinking informing the work of Teach the Future.

Although you need to listen to it all if you are to get the full flavour of what was said, here's a representative extract.

"... it's those in low to middle income countries who will be impacted disproportionally [by climate change].  A large part of this is due to the historic imprint of colonialism whereby Britain and many other Western countries stole resources, massacred populations, destroyed land and stunted these countries' economic capacities limiting their response to the climate crisis which the West predominately contributed to. ... We must pay back our historic colonial debt and recognise the interdependencies of climate change, human rights, colonialism, inequality and corporate power, self-determination and democracy.  ... The climate crisis is a class struggle.  It's a struggle against racism, it's an ecological struggle, an education struggle, a health struggle, but most importantly it's your struggle.  ...

The climate crisis isn't a co-incidence.  It was crafted by extractive systems of capitalism and colonialism spearheaded by elites with no incentives to stop their destruction ... .  we must reject these notions of corporate-driven individualism.  As the crisis is exploited for capital gain we must unite those who have lost out to campaign together for a new way of running the economy that puts people first creating intersectional alliances across borders connecting indigenous movements in Latin America with fracking protesters in Lancashire, clean air activists in Kashmir with divestment campaigners in the Netherlands.  Together, we will take a stand against disaster capitalism and the climate crisis, and lead the way towards a future that replaces corporate greed with people power.  ..."

Her talk was well received.  The Chair described it as "brilliant" and the comments in the chat were almost universally positive with "Do we have our own Greta already?" standing out.  So, here's a prediction: By 2030 we'll not be anywhere near net-zero carbon, but Scarlett Westbrook will be a household name.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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  • Just watched the Scarlett Westbrook speech you linked in with your blog. And she is only a passionate 16 years old giving a collegial level narrative. Wow, English schools have come a long way since I was a 16 year old – Swedish schools as well it seems. They are so unique considering most 16 year old’s cannot fathom a rotary phone in an emergency or disengage from a preoccupation with the number of likes to their latest Facebook post. I would be more encouraged if there were thousands of these kinds of young speakers rather the unique media individuals.

  • Don’t see her rising too far in the Conservative party