It’s been 4 years since the Schools Strike for Climate global event. In this episode of the Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects podcast, Yvonne O’Callaghan reflects on that seminal moment in May 2019, and many moments since then where young people have taken the lead, saying:
‘They have broken down more barriers than anyone before them in terms of activism over the last 20 years.’
In this episode, guest host Tony Daly caught up with trade union leader Yvonne, who believes
‘This is about the future and we need to make sure future generations, including young people, are involved in how we tackle climate justice right now, not in 10 years.’
In SIPTU’s 22nd May 2019 statement in advance of the climate strike event in her capacity as SIPTU Global Solidarity Campaign Secretary, Yvonne said:
‘Our union is built on the belief that through collective action real and progressive change can be achieved. Our activists are honoured to have been asked to assist a number of grassroots organisations of young people who are focused on ensuring that there is effective action taken to deal with the existential crisis that is climate change.’
Yvonne was one of the supporting adults in the trade union movement in Ireland in the lead up to the climate protest in Dublin, contributing a high-vis vest as worn by dozens of volunteer marshals towards the exhibition.
Yvonne is Head of Equality and Policy in SIPTU Trade Union, chair of the ICTU Global Solidarity Committee and chairperson of Fairtrade Ireland, and you can find Yvonne on Twitter @therediconic.
Resources and reference points raised during the episode:
- School Strike for Climate – Marshal Vest object in the Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects online exhibition
- “But what is the answer? Do we pray or play tiddlywinks? What is there for working people to do if they’re not organised?” – interview with RMT trade unionist Mick Lynch on The Guardian
- Glasgow reacts as Extinction Rebellion climate activists stand with binmen strikes, Glasgow Times, 03 Nov 2021
- Just Transition Commissions, for example in Ireland, the Justice Transition Taskforce in Scotland and the EU just transition platform.
- Worth a look: the Joint Declaration on a Just Transition in September 2019 and the SIPTU report There are No Jobs on a Dead Planet: What a Just Transition Means for Workers, 2017.
- Schools Action Network Ireland on Twitter @SCANIreland Instagram @schoolsclimateactionie and Facebook @SCANireland.org
- Bonus resource: infographic that asks, Which Kind of Climate Activist Are You? on developmenteducation.ie
- There’s Power in a Union by Billy Bragg (included below)
For listeners, some periodic background noise can be heard as this episode was recorded on the side-lines of the Fairtrade General Assembly in Nairobi in June 2022.
Check out more episodes in the Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects series or subscribe.
The Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects podcast is hosted by Ciara Regan.
This episode was produced by Dylan Creane and Tony Daly. Music by Jump Lead.
Brought to you by developmenteducation.ie and supported by Irish Aid
Explore the posters, games, badges, books and more from the Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects exhibition online.