Fridays for Future spokesperson: ‘We all have a role and our futures are at stake’
Student-led initiative Fridays for Future seeks to spread awareness ahead of Friday’s climate action
Week for Future approaches its culmination in Barcelona and worldwide as on Friday there was a midday strike among secondary school and university students against climate change ahead of the larger protest set for later on in the evening.
It was an eventful weekend for anti-climate change organization Fridays for Future, in which 16 year-old Greta Thunberg divided opinions by reprimanding political leaders in a powerful speech at the UN summit. Catalan News spoke to Aitor Urruticoechea, a spokesperson for the organization in Barcelona, about what needs to be done in Catalonia.
Why hasn't climate action been as successful in Catalonia as in other places?
I think this is mostly because in Barcelona and in the South of Europe in general, we have a mindset that is less about climate change and the climate emergency as the mindset that people have in the northern half of Europe. In countries like Denmark, Sweden of course, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, in society in general there is a way of thinking that is much more preoccupied with the climate emergency and how to solve it than there is in Barcelona, and here we still have to work on making this mindset be more present in overall society.
What needs to be done in Catalonia?
I think that overall in Catalonia we need to make people more conscious about what we are facing. Climate emergency is a very serious issue, we all have a role in it and all of our futures are at stake. Ironically, the southern half of Europe is one of the places that is going to suffer more from the effects of the climate crisis with the certification, rise of sea levels, less rainfall etc etc, and yet we are a bit blinded in the way we speak. We need to make people think more about what we are facing, and think more about ways to solve it.
Is the Low Emission Zone enough?
The Low Emission Zone is a totally inefficient way of removing cars from a city. Instead, what we propose from Fridays for Future Barcelona is an anti-pollution toll that keeps cars in general away from the city. We are searching not only to remove those polluting old cars, but cars in general because we need to make people understand that their way of moving should be with public collectives and ecological transport and not with a private car driven by only one person, and the only way of achieving this according to studies that we’ve seen is this anti-pollution toll that could reduce up to 50% of all private traffic within the city.