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Cambridge tech and engineering group forms to back school strikers

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A new group of tech and engineering workers called Cambridge Tech Climate Action Network, or CT-CANhas been formed to contribute to – and enhance – the climate change debate.

The inaugural cohort of 16, most of whom are already involved in the Extinction Rebellion campaign, work for nine tech companies, of which eight are in the city of Cambridge and one outside.

“We are a group of technology workers in our city, drawn together from some of the most influential technology companies in the world,” says CT-CAN in an open letter. “We are researchers, professionals, scientists and engineers.

“Continuing with ‘business as usual’ will lead to climate breakdown: this is incontestable. Despite the dire warnings from the IPCC, despite the suffering of those on the front line of the climate crisis today, and despite the pleading and protests of thousands around the world, CO2 emissions continue to rise unabated... without urgent change at all levels of society, the future for the youth of today looks increasingly bleak.”

The letter, addressed to the school strikers at Cambridge Schools Eco Council, goes on to raise concerns about some of the work they are engaged in.

“We admit that there is a massive environmental cost to the work that we do," it says. "With new innovations, we render existing technology obsolete, and generate ever more demand for materials mined and processed under appalling conditions by those on the front lines of the climate catastrophe. Changing this state of affairs may seem an insurmountable challenge, but we view it as an absolute necessity.

"Our main focus at the moment is to try and get a lot of our colleagues to take the morning off work on September 20 and possibly 27 to join the student strikers as they have asked the adults to do this time round. We see this as an initial step in what we hope will become an ongoing process of climate activism within companies."

Cambridge School Strikers have caused discussions around the world with their climate change activism. Picture: Derek Langley
Cambridge School Strikers have caused discussions around the world with their climate change activism. Picture: Derek Langley

CT-CAN is due to meet members of the Cambridge Eco Schools Council at a ThoughtRiver event at Merlin Place on Tuesday. ThoughtRiver offers a machine learning contract platform for lawyers.

“It’s deeply appreciated,” said a spokesperson for the schools eco council of CT-CAN’s contribution to the cause. "People tell us that if we're concerned about climate change, we must be losers who could never do well in school, find real jobs, or build good futures - but they're wrong, and this message from leading scientists and technology specialists proves it.

"Many of us strikers who are passionate about maths and sciences would also love to come meet them, someday, and learn about the tech solutions they're pioneering."

"We hope everyone can all join us for the week of global climate strike starting September 20, here in Cambridge, with a students march and die-in to which everyone is invited) on September 20 from 9.30am at Shire Hall and 11am at King's Parade, and in the evening a workers march at 6pm, and also in our schools eco-council vigils every night from 6-8pm on King's Parade during the global week of action which runs until September 27."

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