Islington climate strike: Jeremy Corbyn thanks 'inspirational' protestors for turning climate emergency into mainstream issue
PUBLISHED: 15:09 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:05 30 September 2019
Jeremy Corbyn showed solidarity with environmental protestors outside Islington Town Hall today - and thanked them for making the climate emergency a mainstream issue.
Unionists, teachers and students were among hundreds of people who assembled at the town hall steps with banners and megaphones at noon, as part of the Global Climate Strike which has seen millions protest worldwide.
The strikes are calling for radical and urgent action to stop global heating and slash greenhouse gases before its too late to stall or reverse the damage, which is already causing extreme weather and displacing millions of people.
The Labour leader, who cycled to and from the rally, told the Gazette: "I'm delighted that the climate protests have been so successful and so many people have turned up. It's inspiring to see all these young people here outside the town hall and older people as well - it's changed the agenda in so many ways and I'm delighted. In the 1970s I was also an environmental campaigner. Then there were tiny number of us and it was seen as extreme and not relevant to society, now its utterly mainstream."
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On Wednesday the Lib Dems Islington North candidate Nick Wakeling told the Guardian Mr Corbyn could lose his seat at the next election and "find himself spending more time on his allotment" due to his party's Brexit policy. But when the Gazette quizzed Mr Corbyn, who won a majority of 33,215 votes in 2017, he smiled and said: "We'll take Islington North, don't you worry."
Toufik Kacimi, chief exec of Muslim Welfare House, in Seven Sisters Road, told the crowd climate chaos is already ravaging communities and creating environmental refugees.
He later told the Gazette: "I have seen it myself because I have been to Africa many times. I have seen the devastation. I have seen farmers who have stopped farming because of the draught - it's the reality. People have lost their lives because of the extreme weather conditions. I see so much food waste in central London. We all have a responsibility in stopping this phenomenon, if we don't our children will have no future."
Andy Bain, of campaign group Islington Homes for All, said: "In order to deal with the threat of climate change we have to plan at a national and international level, and with the regulated capitalism we have now you can't possibly do that. But I think some people and organisations think we can use less plastic and that will do it, but the reality needs to be a coordinated effort at national level."
Ken Muller, of the National Education Union, said: "I think a lot of us have been inspired by Greta Thunberg and the students around the world and in Islington. We feel a commitment as teachers and parents to fight for our children's future."