11th Dec, 2019

Coventry students to continue striking until climate change pleas are heard

Felix Nobes 26th Mar, 2019 Updated: 26th Mar, 2019

COVENTRY young people say they will continue to strike until their climate change pleas are heard – after councillors invited to their protest did not show up.

On March 15 students in the city took the day off school to play their part in the first Global Student Strike for Climate.

The next protest is planned on April 12.

Last time, about 50 students protested outside Coventry City Council House, but only Conservative Councillor Roger Bailey was able to find the time to attend.

All of Coventry’s 54 councillors were invited to attend and join regional campaigners and University of Warwick academics.

The United Nations Association (UNA) in Coventry helped the children capture their demands on video to be sent to councillors to watch later.

Their chief aim was to put pressure on the council to declare a state of emergency and join 40 other UK councils.

Students wanted councillors to listen to their ideas for what the city needs to do to help keep global temperatures within safe limits and avoid a ‘global catastrophe’.

Coventry student Sadie Aspinall, aged 13, was excused by Bablake Secondary School to attend the protest.

She said: “Despite the successful event, one shocking thing that ruined it all was that out of the 54 local politicians invited, only one turned up.

“It helped me to realise that although a lot of people evidently care about our planet, the ones who have the most power to make a change are not doing a lot. And not just at this forum, but all over the world.

“Overall, I discovered that people believe the best way to halt the climate crisis was by education.”

The students called on Coventry City Council to encourage every city school to establish an eco-council.

The council should also establish a Youth Eco-Forum consisting of representatives from school eco-councils that meets in Coventry Council House so students could share ideas with each other and with council staff and senior executives.

UNA Coventry branch secretary Philip Brown said: “The students’ ideas for actions the council can take were so practical and exciting that the Coventry UNA and Dr Smith have agreed to take them forward.”

Councillor Kevin Maton said: “We are looking at ways in which we can give this issue a higher profile.

“We would like the opportunity in a planned way to speak to kids, without them leaving school.

“But I would 100 per cent support the concerns that young people have that we are not paying enough attention to this.

“We do need to take action now and take this more seriously.”

But he did say the council is acting to improve recycling and energy waste, and would not declare a state of emergency.

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