Youth climate activists continue hunger strike against coal mine in the UK

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Image courtesy of Elijah McKenzie-Jackson on Twitter.


The Bigger Picture (London) — Since The Bigger Picture originally reported on Elijah McKenzie-Jackson’s hunger strike against the Woodhouse Colliery coal mine in West Cumbria a week ago, there have been substantial updates, something that we feel is worth reporting on.

Elijiah reported on the tenth day of his hunger strike that they had been “called into Parliament” to discuss the issue with MPs, who promised to push and advocate his cause in the House of Commons. In particular, Alex Sobel, Labour MP for Leeds NW, pledged support on Twitter. He therefore ended his hunger strike that day as he had gained “political support and action”.

While the environmental impacts of the coal mine have already been reported on by The Bigger Picture and several other media outlets, the construction of the coal-mine looks to be more and more contradictory with the government’s climate aims, with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy declaring “coal no more from 2024” in a tweet on the 4th of February. The national government also supports the coal mine Elijah went on hunger strike against, which, according to the thinktank Green Alliance will emit 8.4m tonnes of CO2 per year, which is “clearly incompatible with the UK’s climate ambitions and the need for a clean energy future”. It is projected that it will reach full production capabilities by 2023, one year before coal is to supposedly be phased out.

Other young climate activists continued going on hunger strike, with 14-year-old Lissy Green lasting 9 days, until the 10th of February; on social media she pledged to continue after the end of Elijah’s, as she felt the need to continue to demonstrate until the Woodhouse Colliery is “actually debated in parliament”. Yesterday, 15-year-old Inky Lee Campling picked up where Green left off, telling this correspondent that she feels “it is important to go on hunger strike because” she doesn’t “think that the mine is getting enough attention/media coverage”, adding that “hopefully people who have heard about the hunger strike… will start doing things such as lobbying their MPs and starting protests to try and prevent this mine from going ahead”.

The fight continues.

To play your part in stopping the construction of the West Cumbria coal mine, and combating the climate crisis, share this article on social media to raise awareness, and write to your MP, imploring them to join the fight.

Support the climate activists bravely going on hunger strike by following them on social media; follow Elijah on Twitter | Instagram, Lissy Green on Instagram and Inky Lee Campling on Instagram. To receive updates about the youth environmental movement in the UK, follow UKSCN on Twitter | Instagram, XR Youth on Twitter | Instagram and UKSCN London on Twitter | Instagram.