On Friday 20 September Alexandra Square witnessed that nicest of experiences, an officially-sanctioned protest, as upwards of 300 staff and students congregated at 12 noon to show their support for the ‘climate strikes’ being organised by school pupils that day.
Credit is due to Lancaster’s management for allowing its employees to walk out for half an hour, although subtext suspects that whoever wrote the staff guidance failed to appreciate that the greatest demos are the most spontaneous ones. According to the intranet story, ‘Staff to take part in Global Climate Strike,’ dated 13 September 2019, those wanting to take part needed to:
– let your line manager know that you intend to take part between the agreed times;
– consider the impact of this time on your work; and
– discuss the impact of this stoppage with your line manager.
Any plans for group protests or demonstrations were to be dealt with in line with the Code of Conduct on Protests (see subtext 185).
Still, we should celebrate the occasion. Recyclable placards proclaimed that ‘the seas are rising and so are we’ and ‘democracy divided by greed equals environmental destruction’, rousing speeches were made by Emily Heath and Millie Prosser and, as a final flourish, participants got together to form a living, circular map of the world. Your correspondent is not sure whether the end result actually looked like a globe, but the intention was clear regardless. More of this sort of thing, please! Well – obviously we’d prefer it if the world wasn’t threatened with obliteration and no one needed to protest at all, but you get our drift.