Youngsters to march on Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square as climate change movement shows no signs of letting up

YOUNGSTERS from across the region will once again descend on the city’s Guildhall Square to raise concerns about climate change.

Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 5:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 5:17 pm
Protesters gather at last month's climate change demonstration. Picture: Sophie Chennell

The protest is part of a national series of demonstrations organised by YouthStrike4Climate – a youth environmental movement aimed at pressuring global governments to take action to reduce the effects of climate change.

A statement from the group said: ‘We are choosing to rise up and take direct action where older generations have failed. This is our final chance to fight for our futures and our ages will not stop us.’

The protest is being hosted by affiliated group, Extinction Rebellion Portsmouth.

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Group spokesperson, Nicholas Day, said: ‘A recent UN climate report said we have 11 years to ensure the current climatic changes we have experienced are limited to 1.5 degrees. In February we recorded temperatures of 21 degrees, which is simply unheard of. These are valid protests by our young people and children. It’s their futures not being safeguarded due to an abdication of responsibility from those in power. They need to get their voice out.’  

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The demonstration is the third event, following protests on February 15 and March 15. The March demonstration saw an estimated 50,000 young people participating across the country.

Brune Park pupil, Jack Thorpe, 15, has been involved in the previous two protests.

Jack said: ‘We only have one planet - we don’t have a planet B in reserve. It’s our generation and future generations who will suffer most. It’s our future and it is down to us to make a difference.’

As reported in The News, those previous protests involved children across the region missing out on school as many opted to take strike action.

Speaking at the time, executive headteacher of the Gosport and Fareham Multi-Academy Trust, Ian Potter, said: ‘Democracy is a fundamental British value; the right to peacefully protest and to withdraw one’s labour are democratic rights we have protected. If parents have authorised their child to exercise their rights then schools, in my view, should respect the view of the parent.’

The political movement has been inspired by 16 year old Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg.

Nicholas explained: ‘Rather than go to school, this girl decided to go and stand outside the Swedish Parliament in protest over the damage governments were inflicting on the environment. Greta has argued what is the point in learning about the world if we won’t have a suitable world to live in.’

The protest is due to take place outside of Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday, April 12 between 11am and 2pm. The last protest attracted more than 100 demonstrators.