Hundreds of Islington pupils take to Highbury Fields to demand action on climate change as politicians 'faff about with Brexit'
PUBLISHED: 17:29 15 March 2019
Hundreds of Islington students demonstrated against climate change today as they marched through Highbury Fields to make their voices heard.
More than 400 pupils aged seven to 11 from Canonbury Primary School and Ambler Primary School joined forces to tell politicians: “Save our planet; stop burning our future.”
The powerful demonstration in N5 followed protests around the world where tens of thousands of students in more than 100 countries walked out of school to put climate change on the map.
“There is only one planet earth,” said Logan, a Year 5 student from Canonbury Primary School.
“Last week only 40 politicians turned up to a debate on climate change.
“We’re turning up today because we’re disgusted they don’t care. They turn up for Brexit but when will they turn up for our planet? When will they turn up for our future?
“Children like us deserve better.”
The actions of the Islington schoolchildren – who delivered rousing speeches and held aloft pointed banners – received support from Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Islington mayor and Highbury East Green councillor Caroline Russell.
Pupils demanded greater action from the politicians in Whitehall responsible for the environment.
Ellie Mellor-Stevenson, a Year 6 student from Ambler Primary School, said: “It’s so important we send out this message about climate change.
“It’s unfair that the adults and politicians have all the power and all the solutions to climate change but don’t do anything to stop it.
“They know what they need to do – they just don’t do it.
“They’re faffing around with Brexit but if we don’t take action now there might not be a planet for Brexit to change.”
In Parliament Square, Whitehall and the Mall, an estimated 10,000 young people gathered in protest today.
At the same time, teachers and parents on Highbury Fields proudly looked on as students chanted: “Find the solution – stop the pollution.”
Headteacher of Canonbury Primary School, Patrick Mildren, said: “I’m really over the moon because all of the children were chanting, expressing their voice and listening so carefully to what everyone had to say.
“They hold a genuinely different perspective to us adults who have grown up in a culture of convenience where everything can be bought quickly and where everyone can travel quickly, without thought.
“On the other hand our students are asking us: ‘Why are you doing all of these things you know are going to destroy our planet in a matter of years?’
“As a school we need to make sure people are walking to and from the school gates, reduce waste, turn off the lights, limit photocopying and recycle effectively.
“The takeaway from today is that we can’t stop here – our students want to see action.”
Addressing the students, Cllr Russell – also a London-wide Assembly Member – said: “It is truly amazing to see so many Islington schoolchildren telling all the politicians to listen about climate change.
“The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, needs a good plan to stop climate change so I’m going to tell him about all the brilliant letters and posters you’ve made today, and how important it is he listens to you.”
Lending his support at Highbury Fields too, mayor of Islington Cllr Dave Poyser said: “As my daughter who also joined the protest tells me: ‘There’s no planet B’.
“If the seas swamp the coasts, there’s no point discussing other issues.
“Islington Council couldn’t be doing more to tackle climate change with limitations on traffic and diesel cars – we’re ahead of the curve.
“We are at one minute to midnight, though.
“Let’s hope the people with global power finally wake up.”
Juliet Benis, headteacher of Ambler Primary School, said: “It was so important for the students to all come together and be inspired, but also be heard.
“There’s a real frustration about what is being done to tackle climate change but today was a really positive, solution-focused event looking at how we can make a difference.
“It was all about the power of the children’s voice.”