Pupils from schools across Bournemouth staged a walkout today as part of wider international student protests against climate change. Nicole Baddeley reports:
Among the bustling and infectiously passionate crowds were children as young as one alongside children aged seven to fifteen, joined by parents, supporters and other students from local colleges and Universities.
Talk among the crowd was on one thing and one thing only, the effect of climate change on our planet.
Standing outside the Town Council offices, over 200 students had gathered with hand painted placards and banners as part of the Youth Global Climate Strike protest demanding immediate climate action.
The protest gathered outside the Town Hall at 11am this morning where speeches from local school children were given and Cllr Simon Bull spoke in favour of the protest’s message.
The PA system set up allowed children to make impassioned speeches, either pre-prepared or off the cuff sending parents and members of the public into jeers and tears.
One of the first to address the crowds was 15-year-old Mia McClure who’s speech received a raging applause and long cheers.
Speaking exclusively to Buzz she said: “I was so happy I was able to have my voice heard. It’s amazing to be here. I think the atmosphere today has proved that it’s our environment and our world as much as anyone else’s.”
Cllr Simon Bull came out to address the hundreds of children and parents gathered outside the Town Hall, after his speech he said: “It’s good to show the young people that there is support, they’re not lone voices.
“There are people in the council who are supportive of what they’re trying to do and the message they’re trying to get across; that we need to do something and we need to do it now.”
After about an hour or so outside of the Council buildings the protest moved to the Town Square by the Camera Obscura in Bournemouth town centre.
Kitty Stewart from Extinction Rebellion who helped to coordinate the protest via social media said: “It’s amazing that there are so many young people who are aware of the situation they are facing so for them to come and speak about it, support it and take action to bring about change is so powerful.”
Whilst at the town centre, placards, banners and flags were being handed out to join the sea already being held proudly in the air by pupils of Bournemouth.
One placard, painted with swirling flames read: “It’s getting hot in here so take off all the coals” a homage to Nelly’s, Getting Hot in Here was made by Queen Elizabeth student, 13-year-old Leila Jones who said: “I think everyone needs to understand that it’s important and it’s happening right now.”
The protest was one of thousands taking place across the UK and the rest of the world today.
The movement was started by Swedish student and activist, 16-year-old, Greta Thunberg who this week has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work against climate change.
The hashtag #FridaysForFuture galvanised students all over the world to fight against climate change.
Over 100 countries have participated in the Global Climate Youth Strike started by Greta, where students protest for change by walking out of school and protesting on the streets one Friday a month.
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