News >> Students support young activists to make their voice heard

Students support young activists to make their voice heard

students with banner
Tuesday, 2 April, 2019

STUDENTS from Schumacher College have been supporting young climate change activists taking part in a series of demonstrations in cities across the UK.

They joined Exeter schoolchildren, some as young as ten years old, who have been staging protests to illustrate their concerns and asking politicians to respond to them.

Rob Shorter, an MA Economics for Transition student at Schumacher College, has attended two of the rallies, working with pupils to print T-shirts and banners asking the question ‘What if?’ and also offering them ‘earth souvenirs’ of handmade beaded bracelets designed to illustrate the fragility of Earth.

“It was so powerful for them to have their voices heard, for someone to ask and be interested in their words and imagination.

It was incredible to see how meaningful it was to them.  You know it’s the kids who are leading the adults at the moment.”

Rob said he had been inspired by Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Town Network, and had decided to pose a very open question to foster of sense of imagining a range of possibilities.  He said he was overwhelmed by the response from the young people.

He and his fellow students have joined the schoolchildren on two rallies where the young people have left their classrooms to stage demonstrations around the streets of Exeter, at times causing traffic to come to a standstill.

Rob said during his course at the College he had learned that simply giving people numbers and facts was not an effective way to engage them to tackle climate change. 

“It is about shifting the narrative and asking ‘What if’ and getting the young people to ask questions – you get this chain reaction happening,” he said. “I am interested to see the conditions that people need to get around the table of imagination – imagination is nothing without action. You don’t need to be from a certain background or to have certain qualifications to be able to address these questions."

Before coming to study at College Rob worked for the Coop supermarket as their Strategic Insight Manager.  He was responsible for helping the executive of the food business and their senior teams to better understand the needs of shoppers and the dynamics of the market.

“Doing this project has given me a sense of belief that I can turn my imagination into action, which in turn has changed my feeling of agency and gives me real excitement for what I might chose to do next.”

You can find out more about the MA Economics for Transition here.