Pupils across Portsmouth went on strike to demand government action

I WANT to save my future.

Saturday, 16th March 2019, 3:21 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th March 2019, 4:26 pm
Extinction Rebellion held a Youth 4 Climate Strike in Guildhall Square on Friday, March 15. Picture: Sarah Standing (150319-2157)

Those are the words from 11-year-old Finn Piper from Emsworth who has taken the day off school to protest for action on climate change.

More than 100 supporters joined the youngster, including pupils from Priory School and Mayville High School, in Guildhall Square today to support Youth 4 Climate Strike and make the government to take action.

Finn said: ‘When I grow up I want to live in a nice world with lots of animals. I want to save my future.

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‘I think it is really good that lots of people have turned up to take part.’

As reported by The News earlier this week, head teachers across the area were split on whether or not to give youngsters permission to attend the protest.

The Emsworth Primary School pupil said he did try to persuade friends to join him.

He said: ‘I gave out leaflets and most of my teachers were quite supportive but I may get in trouble for not being in school.’

But Finn won’t get in trouble with his parents as dad Rayner was next to him protesting at the event.

The 45-year-old said: ‘This is an educational day out and I think it is important the kids are taking a stand.

‘My kids have been watching Youtube videos about it and I am proud they wanted to join in and are passionate about this cause.’

Rayner and his children have also been hosting protests in Emsworth and hope to join in with #FridaysForFuture, founded by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, which sees pupils across Europe strike every Friday.

He said: ‘There was about five families last week and we all protested in Emsworth and I  there are plans to hold youth strikes every month until there is real change.

‘It is all fine everyone making their own lifestyle changes but we need legislative change to have a real impact.’

The Youth 4 Climate Strike demands include the government declaring a climate emergency, making it a priority for the ecological crisis to be taught in schools and bringing the voting age down to 16 so that young people can have say on policy making.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan was one of the politicians supporting the day.

Mr Morgan said: ‘Young people shouldn’t have to pay the price for the mistakes of previous generations.

‘Climate change is without a doubt the greatest issue that the world faces. As a coastal city whose historical link with the ocean could not be stronger, we are at even greater risk.

‘I commend the actions of the young people who taking part today in an attempt to get the government to act on climate change. You are the ones who will be most affected by all of this and it inspiring to see you taking action.’

The strike was supported by the Portsmouth branch of Extinction Rebellion, which was launched earlier this year and aims to get the council to declare a climate emergency and pledge to become zero carbon by 2030.

Member Emma Collins said: ‘We want to support our children in this fight and I think it is our responsibility.’