Shropshire pupils stage school climate strike to coincide with MP's visit
Ten Shropshire children from nursery, primary and high school, joined together to stage a school climate strike.
The action, which took place in Bishop's Castle, was inspired by the protests influenced by young climate change activist Greta Thunberg, according to its 11-year-old organiser Archie Finch-Lees.
He said: “Me and some friends were motivated to organise this climate strike after hearing about the others across the world, inspired by Greta Thunberg.
"We are in the middle of a climate emergency created by adults but because we children can’t vote, politicians are ignoring us. The school strikes have given us a way to have our voices heard. It’s our planet that is being destroyed. And our future."
Plastic pollution is also a big concern for Archie who said: “When you throw out plastic – and baby wipes – it often ends up in a place called the Pacific gyre. It’s an island of waste plastic, about three times the size of France."
The strike was organised to coincide with Ludlow MP, Philip Dunne’s visit to one of the schools in the town.
Archie said it gave all of the children, irrespective of whether they attended the school, a chance to show their MP their concern about climate change.
He said: “I heard that Mr Dunne was involved in helping to ban plastic straws so I wanted to congratulate him on that and to ask him to make banning fossil fuels his next mission."
Dandelion Still, 10, wanted to ask Mr Dunne about recycling, and said: “I’m concerned that it seems the council are making it harder to recycle in town as they had taken away the public recycling bins."
Chloe Lambart, 12, who attends a different school, but took part in the protest, said: “I think it is important that we take climate change seriously because we only have 12 years left to do something before we've gone so far the planet can't get better."
India Wyndham-Derhe, 10, said that she joined the strike “for more to be done to stop climate change”.
While waiting for Mr Dunne, the children discussed the news that authorities are making contingency plans for the potential evacuation of a Welsh town, called Fairbourne, which is being gradually reclaimed by rising sea levels and erosion. Residents there are referred to as potentially the UK’s “first climate change refugees”.
Many of the children had also recently watched The War On Plastic on the BBC.
Poppy Wyndham-Derhe, 10, said the the programme had motivated her family: “We do this thing where we go to the supermarket and any plastic we don’t want on products, like tomatoes or grapes, we return them. We write on them #ourplasticfeedback."
The global school strikes have been dismissed by some as “just an excuse to miss school”, but Archie said he thinks that is unfair.
He said: “I go to the best school in the world. I love my school. My teacher and the head and all the staff are awesome. I have worked very hard for my SATs recently. But, the best education in the world is not much good if we have no planet."
The strike started at 8.30am and ended when Mr Dunne arrived at 10am.
While waiting for their MP’s arrival, the children made good use of their time and did a litter sweep of the park, collecting nearly two full bags.
Dandelion’s mum, Liz said: “The kids were so dignified and polite. I believe it was a real educational experience, especially listening to them articulate what they wanted to say to Mr Dunne. I’m very proud of them all."