One of the things that recently has brought me a huge amount of pleasure is regularly seeing young people cycling on our streets. For many years this was a very rare sight due to the dangerous conditions. With the arrival of People Friendly Streets and protected cycle tracks along Liverpool Road, it is now safer for a growing number of young people to express their independence by making their own trips, and without needing to be escorted by their parents in a car.
However, the majority of streets in Islington are still not safe for young people and the decision to make People Friendly Streets schemes permanent is yet to be made. The youth climate strikes have shown that our children demand all of us to act now in face of the growing climate and ecological emergency. Reading the comments of those against these schemes it often seems that for those who do have the opportunity to use alternative means of transport, their personal convenience is of far greater value than the lives of our children.
In fact, if rolled out across the borough, these pioneering schemes would have huge positive impacts on the lives of our young people today and the young of the future. It will allow them to have the freedom to feel safe to meet their friends and to visit places independently. It will reduce the pollution that currently stunts their lungs and they will be living in a borough that is committed to reducing carbon emissions so that they can live in a climate that supports life.
Over the next couple of weeks, there will be a chance for adults to review the candidates in 5 local byelections and the mayoral elections and determine whether these candidates are truly committed to our future generation. How we vote will have the biggest impact on those who are currently too young to vote or are not yet born. We know that with dangerous levels of carbon already locked into the planet’s atmosphere and the rate of decline in our ecosystems, that life is going to be very different and very difficult for them. Given our contribution to these crises, we owe it to them to make life as better for them as possible.
Let's keep this in mind when we cast our votes in a couple of weeks and ask ourselves who we wish to serve.
Published in Islington Tribune on 23 April 2021