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"Voices of young people must be heard"

Green councillors have called for Bristol’s Mayor, Bristol City Council and local teachers and parents to support those students choosing to join this Friday’s school strike on climate change. On Friday 15th February, school children from across Bristol will be taking part in the first nationwide ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’ inspired by the actions of 16 year old Greta Thunberg in Sweden. This Friday, many of Bristol’s schoolchildren will be joining the 70,000 schoolchildren from 270 cities and towns across the world who have been taking part in ‘Fridays for Future’ demanding that politicians take action to confront the climate emergency.

A Green motion passed by the Council in November led to Bristol declaring a climate emergency and becoming the first UK core city to pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030. This followed the latest IPCC report which made it clear that we have just 12 years left to limit global warming to a rise of only 1.5 beyond which catastrophic climate change impacts are inevitable.

Green Group Leader, Eleanor Combley said: 

“This action is a credit to Bristol’s schoolchildren. While so many of our politicians and leaders are hiding their heads in the sand our young people know that we are in a climate emergency and we must take action now. We have just 12 years to avoid catastrophic climate change, and the terrible impacts that will have on our children and grandchildren. Adults are failing future generations and this must change.”

“As a parent myself I know that it can be hard to condone rule-breaking in our children and young people, but there are times when their voices must be heard. According to the Department of Education, children are only authorised to take days off for ‘exceptional circumstances’. With a climate emergency declared in Bristol and just 12 years to cut CO2 emissions by 50% I stand by all those parents and teachers who believe these are ‘exceptional circumstances’ and are supporting pupils to take this action.”

“I have also written to the Mayor of Bristol asking him to support Friday’s strike and help headteachers and parents in providing the safeguarding needed to enable young people who want to join the strike to do so safely. If we want our children and young people to be active citizens and participate in the political process, we cannot then dole out punitive punishments when they voice legitimate concerns about climate change.”

The NAHT head teachers union has also voiced support for the strike, with a spokesperson saying:

“Society makes leaps forward when people are prepared to take action. Schools encourage students to develop a wider understanding of the world around them. A day of activity like this could be an important and valuable life experience.”

Notes

  • The rally on college Green will take place 11am-2pm on Friday 15th February
  • Councillor Eleanor Combley’s letter to the Mayor here>>

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