A HUGE crowd of protesters lined the streets in Rugby town centre today as part of the biggest global climate strike yet.
Around 200 demonstrators – most of them teenagers – made their voices heard outside the Town Hall today (Friday September 20) as part of the Youth Strike 4 Climate movement inspired by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg.
Members of Rugby Extinction Rebellion and UK Student Climate Network joined the strike, part of a global effort to accelerate action against climate change.
Among them was 15-year-old Samren Reddy, who stood on the same spot where he staged a one-man climate strike in February.
He said: “I am so pleased at the turnout. When I first stood out here in February I didn’t envision it would get to this stage.
“I’m so pleased that so many people have taken time off school and work to come and protest for our collective future. It’s so humbling to see that.
“At school, we’re studying for our future – but our future potentially could be compromised by climate change.
“Despite all the naysayers our numbers grow stronger every single day, and I think that through education and peacefulness we can bring more people onto our side and bring more progress.”
Staff from Albert Street-based charity Practical Action – which helps people adapt to climate change in vulnerable communities around the world – joined in the strike.
External relations manager Andy Heath said: “Two weeks ago I was in Darfur in the Sudan, speaking to people who had to leave their villages due to civil war around seven or eight years ago, and they’ve since moved back.
“They now face the new dangers of desertification and the changing climate, and that’s causing them more problems than the civil war. Now it looks like they will have to leave those villages for life.
“They were telling me that was the most frightening thing for them. More than war, more than anything else, it’s climate change. And that’s why we’re here.”
Protests took place across the world during work and school hours, ahead of Monday’s (September 23) UN emergency climate action summit in New York.
Although the UK government recently declared a climate emergency, protesters are demanding it raises its 2050 target for net-zero carbon emissions, to lower the voting age, and for changes to the school curriculum to include climate change lessons.
The protest – the biggest yet – also follows recent global attention to fires tearing through the Amazon rainforest which scientists say could impact rainfall and consequently agriculture on the continent.
Search Facebook for ‘YouthStrike4Climate’ or visit www.ukscn.org for more information on Youth Strike 4 Climate.