Schools strike at Winter Weekend

Activists Rosa Lynas (12), Tara Fox (12) and Grace Kerr Robertson (13) marked the global climate strike at Hay Festival Winter Weekend today alongside writers Jackie Morris and Nicola Davies to raise awareness of the climate emergency and to support the millions of young people striking across the world.

Taking place during the second day of the Festival, the young activists invited Festivalgoers to add their wishes for the future to a “wishing tree” in the Baillie Gifford marquee. The messages will be displayed throughout the next three days as politicians, writers and thinkers join events.

Writers Jackie Morris and Nicola Davies accompanied the activity with readings from Letters to the Earth, a collection brought together by four women, a catalyst for conversations, inspiration and new ways of thinking about our planet. Meanwhile, Rosa Lynas and Tara Fox wrote and read their own letters to the Earth.

Inspired by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, the on-site action was part of global series of protests calling on governments around the world to take immediate action in tackling the climate emergency.

Rosa Lynas said: “We want our world to be better than it ever has been before. We want an equal society, a stable economy and a life without racism or prejudice. But to do this, we need our world to be alive.”

Tara Fox said: “This isn’t one person's fault. We are all in the same boat, and if we keep going the way we do, that may be literally.”  

Andy Fryers, Hay Festival Sustainability Director, said: “Recent protests and youth action locally and around the world have energised us with a new feeling of urgency. With some of the world’s greatest thinkers and influential leaders joining us for the next few days, we want to maintain this focus throughout the Festival. We hope the messages from these young activists will resonate around the world and put added pressure on leaders to implement the changes we all need to make.”

Hay Festival has developed an industry-leading programme of managing and mitigating the environmental impact of creating a live festival, focusing on energy, waste, transport, procurement and venues through its Green Hay project. In 2019, highlights included: 85% of the total waste produced on site was recycled, mains electricity was 100% renewable energy, and disposable cups were banned. 

On Saturday 30 November, the latest in a series of Hay Festival tree plantings will take place at Dinefwr, part of the #HAYTREESplanting, Tree Charter Day and the Woodland Trust’s #BigClimateFightback. Meanwhile, on Sunday 1 December, Extinction Rebellion’s Rupert Read will lead a climate march to the Festival marquee ahead of his event.

Explore the full Hay Festival Winter Weekend programme here.