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Parents hold Radcliffe Camera ‘shoe strike’ on day of global climate action

Parents from Oxford today held a ‘shoe strike’ in front of Oxford University’s Radcliffe Camera as part of a worldwide movement to support youth strikers on a global day of action.

The temporary installation included hundreds of pairs of children’s and adult’s shoes with messages of hopes, wishes and fears about the future, accompanied by a banner asking, “Would you want to be in our kids’ shoes?”

The day of action was organised by Fridays For Future (FFF) and has involved strikes in over 3,100 places.

Organisers of the event say that the shoes represent both those unable to protest due to COVID-19 restrictions, as well as future generations who will be most impacted by climate breakdown.

Rowan Ryrie, of Parents for Future UK, who helped to organise the Oxford strike, said:

“We need brave leaders to act decisively based on scientific advice and to think long term – beyond the next election and forward to what legacy today’s generations are going to leave to our children? I have two young children and my love for them is what motivates me. For the children of today and for all those yet to come we need to focus on the CO2 curve as well as the Covid curve.”

The strike formed a part of international action organised by the Parents for Future Global network, which consists of 13 groups in more than 27 countries, from Brazil to Australia. The group was formed in 2019 by a network of parents inspired by the actions of Greta Thunberg and the FFF movement.

Some of the shoes were accompanied by messages from children and parents. On one pair, a parent wrote: “My hope is for my children to grow old in a world with clean air, clean water, flourishing ecosystems, plentiful food, and peace. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

Another message, written by Daniel, aged 10, said: “I hope our leaders will listen to us and do what they need to do to save our planet, so I can enjoy it when I am older.”

Globally, thousands of strikes have been held as part of the Fridays For Future movement, marking the first global day of action in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One feature of the strikes is the use of the MAPA symbol; the use of the symbol, which involves closing two fists together with thumbs pointing upwards, is designed to show support for Most Affected People and Areas of the ‘Global South’, who FFF says are “unheard but not voiceless,” and are “fighting for their presence, not just their future.”

The three demands of FFF, agreed upon by over 400 climate activists from 38 countries, and formed under the Declaration of Lausanne in 2019, are as follows:

  1. Keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.
  2. Ensure climate justice and equity.
  3. Listen to the best united science currently available.

Max Spokes

Max (he/him) is Environment News Editor at The Oxford Blue for Hillary 2021. He is in his second year studying History and Politics at Balliol.