Around 100 Calderdale children join in Hebden Bridge climate change protest

Around 100 schoolchildren from across Calderdale joined in Hebden Bridge this morning to protest against a lack of Government action on climate change.

Friday, 15th February 2019, 11:21 am
Updated Friday, 15th February 2019, 1:12 pm
Children had prepared placards to take on the protest.

The protest, which took the form of a march through the town, has been replicated in 60 towns and cities across the UK as part of a Youth Strike 4 Action day of demonstration.

Most children returned to school straight after the protest, with others going on to join a larger protest in Huddersfield.

It was organised in part by parent May Molteno, a Hebden Bridge resident, who handed out leaflets across the town following the efforts of 13-year-old Scottish schoolgirl Holly Gillibrand, who has been striking for one hour every Friday for several weeks.

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Children had prepared placards to take on the protest.

May said: "I was down there this morning and it was really brilliant. There were around 100 children and 50 parents there, possibly more.

"This is about their future. It's really difficult for us to begin to grasp just how serious a situation we are in.

"International environmental experts say we have 12 years to revert the situation we've found ourselves in and stop a climate catastrophe.

"I look at my kids and I'm scared that they won't be able to live the sort of life I've got.

Children gather at Hebden Bridge town square at the outset of the march.

"If the things move in line with what the experts are saying and there's a two degree change in climate, there will be food shortages, there will be floods, whole cities and towns will disappear.

"This is their World War Two. It is that important. They need to stand up and do something."

Organisers of the protest nationally say they have three central demands of Government:

1 - The Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.

2 - The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.

3 - A national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

School leaders across the borough had warned students they should not miss lessons in order to take part in the strike.

Traffic was briefly stopped in the town during the march, with a small number of neighbours taking to social media to complain about noise and traffic disruption.

Hebden Bridge resident Ava Burgess, 60, said she was in favour of the protest and that any disruption is a small price to pay to get the message of climate change prevention across.

"It's marvellous they've taken the opportunity to do this," she said, "we're the generation that use nuclear power.

"It's their future. It's great that they're taking this on."