Greener future

As young people walk out of schools and colleges across England to protest over climate change they tell us why they are taking action.

Clutching a sign showing a picture of David Attenborough with the words, “do it for David”, 17-year-old Masie was among hundreds of protesters at the Bristol rally.

Across the UK, to declare a climate emergency and take immediate steps to tackle it.

“It‘s important to make climate issues mainstream,” says Masie.

“It‘s so good young people are talking about it.

“A lot of our teachers have supported it – we were making our signs at school yesterday and they loved it.”

Elsewhere in the country, twins Astrid and Xanthe from Edwalton, in Nottinghamshire joined the protest – on the same day as their 13th birthday.

“Our family motto is to leave things better than you find them so it‘s going to be carried on in our family,” says Astrid.

“We need to be giving a voice to the younger generation because the older generation is just borrowing [the Earth]. I wouldn‘t borrow something from a friend and then completely wreck it before I give it back. I would treat it with respect.”

Xanthe said: “This is the last birthday we could have if we don‘t look after the world – and I can‘t think of any other way I‘d spend my 13th birthday.”

Sixteen-year-old Ahmed joined the protest in Durham.

“My message today is the government needs to wake up and so some action or else we‘ll all be swimming soon,” he said.

Zoology students Kit and Tash protested in Southampton.

“With climate change, we won‘t have anything we care about in the future,” says Kit.

“All the animals we love will be gone in 50 years – we need to exercise our free speech and it‘s important to take action.”

Sebastian, 11, from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, went to a demonstration with his mother Marie.

“It‘s important kids have their voices heard,” said Sebastian.

“If we can come down and make some noise and people see our signs they might think about it more.

“My head teacher was supportive of me coming here and I told my best friends I was coming but they didn‘t understand what this was all about.”

Abhijith, Cate and Jonathan were among those protesting in Liverpool.

Abhijith, 18, said he was demanding “concrete steps” by the government to change legislation to make the UK carbon neutral “and hopefully have a green future”.

“We want the government to restructure the curriculum to put climate issues on the forefront of the education system and we want the government to make an action plan to make a carbon neutral Britain and we want recognisable milestones to achieve that future,” he added.

Seventeen-year-old Cate, from Southport, said she had joined the protests after seeing “very little direct government action to move towards a greener, more efficient future”.