Islington schoolchildren join climate strike as they tell politicians to practice what they preach
"I want Islington to switch everything to renewable energy," said one nine-year-old
20 September, 2019 — By Emily Finch
Student protester shows her “Save Our Planet” poster
ISLINGTON schoolchildren told politicians to practice what they preach and start riding bikes and promoting green energy during the borough’s climate strike on Friday.
Hundreds of schoolchildren, pensioners, council workers and those who care about the environment joined two separate rallies outside the Town Hall on Friday to mark a global day of protests to raise awareness of the ongoing climate catastrophe.
Pupils listening to speeches from their classmates and the Labour leader
The first protest which started just before 10am included dozens of pupils from Thornhill, Ambler, Canonbury, Laycock and Duncombe Primary school who were accompanied by parents and teachers.
Opening the series of speakers which included Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was Ronnie, 9, from Laycock Primary School in Highbury who spoke about her concerns that the Earth would no longer be habitable in just a few years because of climate change.
Speaking to the Tribune after addressing the crowd, Ronnie said: “Just because we are kids it doesn’t mean we can’t make a change for our lovely earth.”
Jeremy Corbyn leaving the Town Hall by his red bike
Other speakers included Mr Corbyn who warned that “we are killing people all over this world due to air pollution”.
“We must do everything we can in this country to stop that,” he said.
He also said that a “good project” for all of the schoolchildren to take part in would be to look at the products they use within the classroom, in particular “how they have been made where they come from what went into making them”.
He said the students should “above all” look at how these products can be “reused and recycled once you finished with the immediate demand for them”.
“Our borough is a wonderful, wonderful borough. I love this borough and I love living here.”
And it’s also the smallest borough in the country and one of the most densely populated. Yet, we have this huge thirst for creating a better and safer environment,” he said.
He also called for Britain’s “trading arrangements” to be changed so “we make it very clear that we aren’t importing goods that come from natural rainforests or have been produced by children or where there have been an abuse of human rights to bring it about and we are not importing goods that are polluting rivers and streams in other parts of the world”.
He said: “We would not tolerate making clothes in this country [by] bleaching them in order to make them look nice and then pouring the waste in a local river and destroying our community and our environment and fish. So we shouldn’t be importing goods where exactly the same thing happens to the people making them.”
Laycock Primary School pupils representing their school on Friday
Other speakers on the Town Hall steps included Islington Council’s executive member for the environment, Cllr Claudia Webbe, who gave an impassioned speech to the pupils and told them: “When I Iook at your eyes and passion, I see you want us to get on with it and therefore we have to bring about the change you deserve because you are our future.”
After the speeches, the pupils streamed over to near by Highbury Fields where they all formed a circle to symbolise the Earth and what they were fighting to protect.
Ronnie, Mia, Alicia, all nine-years-old during the Climate Strike
Mia, 9, from Laycock Primary School was sceptical of some of the politicians who spoke at the Town Hall. She told the Tribune: “They all tell us what to do, but some of them came in cars to do their speeches. They are the ones that need to start first.”
Esme, 9, from Ambler Primary school, who previously visited Mr Corbyn’s office earlier in the year and left him a letter asking him to “be a hero” and “go in with the global rebellion against global warming” said she felt her MP was “now listening”.
Esme,9, Maya, 10 from Ambler Primary School
She said: “Climate change is going to result in a lot of bad things. Lots of people could be killed and lose their homes and I don’t want that to happen
“I want Islington council to switch everything to renewable energy and I want them to plant a lot more trees and I want there to be more electric vehicles charging points.”
Pupils arriving in Highbury Fields
A second rally took place at the Town Hall at 12pm which included speakers from various trade unions, council workers and campaigners.
Cllr Gary Heather, a Labour councillor for Finsbury Park and a member of the Communication Workers Union, said: “We indeed have a climate change emergency. Islington has got the twelfth lowest carbon emissions in the country so we are working on it.”
Toufik Kacimi, CEO of Muslim Welfare House mosque in Finsbury Park, said he had seen the “devastation” that climate change has caused in the Sahara. “I have seen hundreds of villages without men where the men have all emigrated and have gone somewhere else. There are villages with only women and children, it’s true. These villages have lost their livelihoods and have lost their farms.”
Muslim Welfare House CEO Toufik Kacimi
He described going to the southern parts of Morocco which are now barren where before his family members learnt to swim in the lakes.
Mr Corbyn left the Town Hall by a red road bike to travel to the larger Climate Strike protest in Central London.