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Protesters make their way down Sun Street during the first Climate Strike

The environment must be the focus of this year’s election, says youth activist

If the number of sixth-formers and university students voting in the elections rises in Canterbury on May 2, part of the credit for that will go to a 20-year old German studying at the University at Kent.

Eske Eilts decided to study environmental social science after she put those words into German and came up with just one university offering such a course tailored to her interests.

“I was looking at something that integrates the social part as well,” she told the Canterbury Journal.

“If you don’t get through to the people you won’t get the change we need.” 

Still in her first year, Eske was one of the group who brought the Youth Strike 4 Climate (YS4C) to Canterbury in February.

Environmental activist Eske Eilts

Since then she and others have linked up with school children and other groups and marched twice through the city centre.

Now the group is focused on Canterbury City Council elections. 

“These elections are crucial as never before,” Eske said.

“We can’t continue business as usual. It is vital voters choose people who know about the ecological crisis and who know that climate change is not a game. We have to act now.”

As a result, her group is writing to agents of the candidates standing, asking them to forward on a small questionnaire to the candidates.

Results of this email exercise will be emailed to the press and put up on social media.

The kind of issue they want to see initiated on May 3 include: changing transportation and infrastructure systems to cut emissions, setting and working upon targets to reduce carbon emissions, raising awareness, and protecting green spaces.

“In times of war we could change the economy in days,” she added. “We can do that now. We need to do it.” 

A third march will be held on April 12 when a banner will be handed over to the council.

Written on it are a range of demands including making Canterbury plastics-free and bringing emissions to zero.

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