Primary school pupils stage climate crisis march
THE Youth Climate Strike returned to Bristol on Friday September 20 with children, parents and teachers from St Bonaventure’s Catholic Primary School and Bishop Road Primary marching on Gloucester Road in the morning with their MP to protest about the climate emergency.
Up to 240 students, staff and parents from St Bonaventure’s were led in the march by their headteacher, Sarah Ballantine, holding hand-made banners and signs demanding action to prevent disastrous climate change.
Mrs Ballantine had heard from concerned students, staff and parents that they wanted to take part in the global ‘Youth Strike’ protests, and took the bold decision to organise a march for the whole school community. Children have been learning about the climate emergency in lessons about the school’s theme this term of ‘Care For Our Common Home’, and were inspired to make placards to air their concerns.
The children held up traffic in Bishopston, chanting “Climate Change is not a lie, Do not let our planet die!”. Matilda, a student at St Bon’s, held a sign she had made reading ‘We’re Making Our World Disappear’. She said: “If we don’t stop climate change, joy will be gone forever.”
They were joined by Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire, who said: “Here in the middle of Bristol West I have been marching with the children today – I’m so proud of the fact they’re marching for the planet. But I’m impatient with them for change to happen now. Children today have told me what they want to tell the Prime Minister, and I’ll be taking that back to Parliament to challenge him to act faster.”
Mrs Ballantine said: “Our priority has been to link our values into our curriculum; our whole-school theme is 'Care For Our Common Home’ and I was inspired by other young activists to support our children to have their voices heard and contribute to making a difference, because that’s at the very heart of St Bon’s.”
Parent, Oliver Thomas, came along to support his child who was protesting before the start of the school day at Bishop Road School. Oliver said: “I know there are a lot of children here who are extremely upset and anxious about their future. My child is nine now and I fear that by the time he’s my age there won’t be a planet for him to live on. Unless we do something transformative now, then his future is looking pretty terrible.”
More protests: Page 17