Bedford youth demand action over climate crisis

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Bedford students have taken an unauthorised day off school to show how concerned they are about the future of our planet and demand that those in power face up to facts and act now over the climate emergency.

Over 50 children descended on Harpur Square to show the Mayor and his cabinet that they won’t stand by and let those in power simply offer platitudes toward what they say will effect their very existence.

Organisers of today’s protest, however, said it’s now time to put words into actions. Christina, Nakayama-Dodd, 15 and Lara Throssellhunt, 15 form Castle Newnham school said: “Why go to school when those who are educated are ignoring the facts about climate change?”

“Adults are doing nothing to stop it…. we’re the ones that are left with the consequences of their inaction.”

One protester added: “We need less talking and more action. It’s great that the council says there is a climate emergency but let’s see some action too.”

Read: Bedford Borough Council declares ‘climate emergency’

Bedford’s Mayor, Dave Hodgson, followed up this climate emergency with the creation of a climate change committee.

While the members of this committee are yet to be announced, it’s understood that at least one of the Boroughs two Green councillors will be a part of the group advising the council.

Read: New climate change committee for Bedford Borough

Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin and Green Party councillors Lucy Bywater and Ben Foley came along to support the campaigners, but the protest wasn’t met with enthusiasm from all.

Mark Lehain, director of Parents & Teachers for Excellence, and former principal of Bedford Free School said: “I love students being politically engaged and taking action about causes they care about, however I’m pretty uncomfortable with the student climate strike concept for a number of reasons.

“Firstly, the UK is leading the world in terms of laws and policy in this area. Also, in accepting a place at school, pupils have a social responsibility to make the most of the education provided, by being at school whenever they can, using the 175 days a year when it’s closed for action such as this.

“And finally, if they are bunking school for this issue, I’d want to understand what they’re doing about other major issues – the Uighur prison camps in China, the persecution of Christians across large parts of the world, the destruction of the Venezuelan economy, and so on.

“Climate change is a big issue – but for millions and millions of people around the world, other solvable problems are even more pressing right now.”

To find out more about the #YouthStrike4Climate head to the Youth Strike 4 Climate website.

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