There is no Planet B – students lead climate change fight

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Pupils from across Mid Argyll took time out of their school day to join the Global Climate Strike movement.

Parents and pupils of Lochgilphead High School had initially been given the impression that students would be prevented from demonstrating, but Argyll and Bute Council’s stance later softened and a second letter was issued to parents – two days later – stating ‘…we cannot authorise pupil absence but this does not preclude any individual attending an event with the support of her or his parent’.

Defying a threat that they would not be allowed to attend the school Christmas dance if they took part in the strike, many pupils took to the streets anyway to join the global movement.

Supported by parents and members of the public a group of nearly 100 gathered by the front green to demand a change, making their voices heard with chants of ‘Climate change has got to go, wayhey, wayho.’

Parent Annie Loughlin explained why she was there: ‘I have two kids and I am really worried about what the future will bring for them. I really care for our beautiful planet and we just need to stop and think about what we are doing to it.’

Sixth year pupil and strike organiser Alfie Smith said: ‘Although the school did not support this campaign at first, I’d like to move on from that. We were very impressed with the number of people who came along. It shows how much desire there is for political change.

‘We are keen to continue campaigning for the environment at Lochgilphead High School and will look at ways that we can all make a difference.’

Meanwhile the P6/7 class at Tarbert Academy, who had been studying climate change as a class topic, took the opportunity to raise awareness as they handed out leaflets they had designed to people around Tarbert harbour.

The Tarbert pupils’ leaflet included tips on how we can make a difference, including simple things like putting on a jumper instead of turning the heating up and avoiding single-use plastic.

Lochgilphead High School pupils Ruth Neville, Lily Walsh, Rosie Day and Rhona Love spoke for many: ‘No one is listening,’ they said, ‘so we need to come together to make our voices heard.

‘It’s amazing how many of us have come out today and collectively, with everyone else across the world, how can we be ignored?

‘Doing something locally can make a change and we want to be a part of that.’

See this week’s letters pages for more on the climate strike