“You’re stealing our future!”
“You’re stealing our future!” – Fridays for Future and Collective Action against Climate Change
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children!” Slogans such as this one have been popular in climate and environmentalist movements since the 1960s. However, it was not until recent years that those children themselves have started to take to the streets to demand that the planet be returned to them in habitable condition. The international Fridays for Future (FFF) movement is made up of and led by young students using school strikes and other forms of protest to put pressure on policy makers to mitigate climate change. They make it clear that they are aware of its disproportionate effects on their generation. Signs at a 2019 Scottish climate strike, for example, demanded, “Geez our future back!” (BBC News, 2019), while one of FFF Germany’s popular slogans goes “We’re here, we’re loud, because you’re stealing our future!” (Rabiega, 2019).
This project investigates the motivations of these young climate activists and their supporters. As social psychologists taking a social identity approach, we look at the roles of identification, injustice appraisals and efficacy beliefs in predicting engagement for the Fridays for Future movement. We also examine the motivations and beliefs of the adults who support them and the types of messages that are most effective at persuading people to engage in climate change action.
“Climate change is one of the biggest global challenges of our time – the goal of this project is to help us understand how people are mobilized to fight against it. As tandem fellows, we also aim to contribute to building a great research community in Scotland and Lower Saxony.”
“We’re excited to have this opportunity as tandem fellows to build research connections between Scotland and Lower Saxony to help understand and facilitate action to stop climate change.”
Dr Lea Hartwich
Lea is a postdoc at the Department of Social Psychology, University of Osnabrück, where she also completed her PhD. She previously studied at the Universities of Cambridge, Warwick, and Göttingen. Her research interests include political ideology, collective action, and social change.
Dr Helena Radke
Helena is a lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Queensland, and was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Osnabrück. Her research interests include collective action, allyship, and gender equality.