Sunday 18 August 2019

Molly Hoque: 'Green wave is not a trend - it's my generation acting on very real fears for our future'

Green for go: Transition year student Molly Hoque (17) is one of the tens of thousands of young people determined to drive the green revolution. Photo: Tony Gavin
Green for go: Transition year student Molly Hoque (17) is one of the tens of thousands of young people determined to drive the green revolution. Photo: Tony Gavin

Molly Hoque

On March 15, myself and more than 10,000 students marched on Leinster House to strike for climate action.

I was lucky enough to be one of the young people invited to speak.

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At the time, I didn't realise the scale of the event. I did not expect to be speaking in front of 10,000 people that day, and yet, I felt completely calm.

I realised my ease was because I was not talking about myself, I was speaking on behalf of the Earth and our future here.

In my speech, I said: "We must convince a government that endorses our protest today and yet, if they had really tried, we probably wouldn't have to be here."

A few weeks after the strike, my school was invited to 'Leaders on Our Level' in the Convention Centre.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also attended and in his speech he said he was inspired by the students who went on strike. But we are still waiting for action.

As a member of this new generation, I can tell you our education has always been sprinkled with "green thinking". In primary school we would assign students to turn off the lights and check the taps whenever we'd leave the room. We had a 'Green Committee' who made sure we recycled properly.

I think this new 'green wave' that has swept across the local and European elections is simply the natural progression of what we have been taught.

I remember when I was five, I would have a recurring nightmare about sea levels rising and everyone I knew drowning. I remember watching animal documentaries on television and hearing that soon these animals would be extinct. I didn't think these situations would worsen by the time I was 17.

Almost everyone in my school has a reusable water bottle or coffee cup. Some people are giving up meat.

Girls often swap clothes to go to events. A lot more people are using apps and websites to buy second-hand clothes and some people have begun to alter clothes to give them a new lease of life. I have heard stories about the women in my family upcycling clothing; we are simply bringing back a system that didn't focus on disposable fashion and seemed to work best. We are taking action at a local level, but there is a lot more to do.

The strikes and protests are happening for a different reason. The real aim is to change the Government's way of thinking and to consider the climate with every decision we make.

I think fear for the future is the cause of this green wave. To me it is not a trend, it is an honest feeling of uneasiness among young people.

It has always been hard to imagine the future, but for some of us today, we don't even want to imagine what might lie in store.

Molly (17) is a student at St Wolstan's Community School, Celbridge, Co Kildare.

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