Luton school pupils plan strike in protest over climate change inaction

MBLN Luton Town Hall, George Street
MBLN Luton Town Hall, George Street

Luton school pupils are planning to strike tomorrow in protest at the government’s inaction over climate change.

The rally follows the first major school strike in the UK on February 19, when around 10,000 pupils took to streets across the country demanding the government take action over global warming.

The young organiser behind Friday’s planned protest in Luton, 16-year-old Cerys Wrigley, said it would begin shortly after 11am outside Luton town hall and continue until 3.10pm in the afternoon.

Cerys said: “I’ve always been interested in activism and people politics.

“I saw the young people striking about this and thought this was something I’d look into.

“I realised that without a healthy planet and a healthy climate, we won’t have any politics to get involved with and I’m really hoping that young people’s voices will be heard.

“We’re hoping that the comments and ideas about what we want will get out there.

“We want the declaration that this is a climate emergency, for information to be shared with the public, and we want the voting age to be lowered to 16 and for young people to have a say on climate issues. At the end of the day, it’s our future we’re striking for and we’re working so hard to make sure we get that.”

Cerys said that around 50 of her classmates had also signed up to the strike, and she believed pupils from other schools would also take part.

According to Cerys, key local issues in the climate debate include emissions from Luton Airport – which has major plans to expand – as well as local businesses’ recycling.

15-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg inspired a mass movement after staging a one-girl climate protest outside her school in August last year.

Her quote to the media, “we cannot solve the crisis without treating it as a crisis” caught on, and was bolstered by the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October, which reported on the impacts of global temperature increasing by 1.5C.

In the UK protests staged last month, youngsters made four key demands of the UK government:

> The government to declare a state of “climate emergency”.

> The government to inform the public about the seriousness of the situation.

> The national curriculum to include ecological science as a subject.

> To include young people in decision-making about climate change solutions and lower the age of voting to 16.

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