“System Change-Not Climate Change” was the chant that captured the demands of tens of thousands of Climate Strikers on the streets of Dublin last Friday. The Amazon is burning, the sea levels are rising and a biodiversity crisis rages on all while the Irish government continues to issue fossil fuel licenses with no regard for the catastrophic consequences that will follow.
UCD students responded with a unified front to present a strong resistance to these disastrous government policies. The Student’s Union, Social Democrats, Greens, Labour and People Before Profit along with other societies met that challenge with force by rallying UCD students to act on Greta Thunberg’s call to strike for climate action where they were joined by over 10,000 strikers in town.
Greenwashing corporate solutions won’t solve the climate crisis, only a progressive and energised alliance fighting for radical action will. A truly just transition to a decarbonised Ireland is the only way we can preserve our natural resources, our safety and our future. We need to start having bold conversations about free public transport, the diversification of the Irish farming sector, reforestation, massive investment in clean energy and ensuring that corporations pay for the damage they inflict on our planet.
The Irish left is historically fractured. We have too often focused our attacks on our left-wing allies while allowing Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to neglect the most vulnerable in our society. That has never worked. Without presenting a unified, credible alternative to amoral government policies nothing will change. This week we achieved this and we have no plans to stop there. With a moral imperative to meet these challenges together, here in UCD we are committed to fighting tooth and nail for a fossil free UCD, safe and affordable housing and functional mental healthcare. The choice is simple: Climate Action or extinction. The sea levels are rising but so are we. Bígí Linn.
Ruairí Power – Auditor of Social Democrats Society