Lancaster students strike over climate inaction

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Young people from Lancaster say that by refusing to act on climate change, the UK government is “denying its reality”.

Pupils from Lancaster Girls Grammar School, Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Queen Elizabeth School, in Kirkby Lonsdale, joined students from Lancaster University at a protest on Friday February 15 which they said aimed to “hold those in power accountable for their systematic inaction”.

The protest at the Lancaster University campus was led by Lancaster Youth for the Environment (LYFE), which is pushing for young people to have a stronger voice in political decision making.

Rosie Mills, a pupil at Lancaster Girl Grammar School, also joined the national day of action.

She launched a petition in 2018 which garnered 1,500 signatures calling on Lancaster City Council to declare a climate emergency.

This coincided with a motion put forward by Coun Kevin Frea that received unanimous support from councillors, meaning the council will now work towards creating a zero carbon district by 2030.

Rosie Mills said: “We are striking today to show that we as young people want the government to take action to prevent climate change. This is of vital importance to us because our future is at risk if carbon emissions continue to rise as they are now.”

Lea Ruegg, 23, who is studying sociology at Lancaster University, and is one of the founders of LYFE, said: “The climate crisis is the defining issue of our generation; one of LYFE’s aims is for young people to be considered and included in political decisions made with regards to climate change, as it is our future which is at stake.

The younger generations are the ones which have to deal with the consequences of previous inaction, and we are breaking this cycle of passing problems on to the next generation.”

Similar events have taken place globally, many showing support for Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist who started the ‘Friday for Future’ movement and the student strikes for climate justice.

“Young people are rising for their future and holding those in power accountable for their systematic inaction.

“Students are protesting and striking to demand that the Government finally declare a climate emergency and take active steps to achieve climate justice, reduce plastics, and cut carbon emissions.

“By refusing to act, governments are denying the reality of climate change and it is time young people got involved.”