It’s been eight days since I took the coach to London and participated in the Climate Justice March.
I had seen the event being advertised long before, but was hesitant to go. Does demonstrating even matter? Does it change anything? I ended up going to meet certain people and to feed my curiosity. And what can I say, I did change something, at least for me personally.
It felt empowering to walk through central London demanding more climate action. Being able to walk on the streets normally full of cars and stop the never ending flow of christmas shoppers made me feel strong. Hearing speeches by those doing incredible things made me want to do incredible things as well. But this all was caused by the design of the event, and the event was designed for us, the demonstrators. Us that already care, not those that still need to be convinced. Did anyone in Downing Street even look out of their windows when we conveyed our message? Did anyone read the flyers we gave out or stopped to listen to the talks? Most likely not, and that may sound frustrating.
However demonstrating made me realise that first and foremost, a demonstration is not to convince the others but to motivate ourselves. Because using my voice felt empowering. Because being amongst likeminded made me feel like I am not alone with my worries. Because breaking up my daily routines for this march gave me the feeling that I am actually doing something, that I am active. An activist.
So demonstrating might not save the world, but it has the potential to save my mental health. For me as a participant it meant being active without being organisationally involved. Just turn up, do something and go back home. This march was an outlet for my frustrations with the world and those who run it, and it was motivating me by showing me that there are many others fighting together with me. It gave me energy to continue and to be powerful and loud.
So rest assured, when the next march comes up, I will be there. Join me!