More than 100 students and local people marched through Matlock town centre to Derbyshire County Council offices and Patrick McLoughlin MP’s office on Friday 12 April, as part of the global YouthStrike4Climate movement.
Students aged 13-18 years old from Matlock’s Highfields School, Bakewell’s Lady Manner’s School and Wirksworth’s Anthony Gell School joined global protests over climate change that took place in more than 120 countries – part of a growing worldwide youth movement demanding more effective political action on climate change.
Holding signs that said ‘There’s No Planet B’ and ‘The climate is changing: why aren’t we?’, the students marched from Crown Square, through Matlock and into County Hall, where they called on Derbyshire County Council to declare a climate emergency.
The protest – Matlock’s first school strike for the climate – was organised independently by students from Highfields School.
“We want Derbyshire County Council and Matlock Town Council to follow the lead of dozens of councils across the UK – including Wirksworth Town Council – in declaring a climate emergency. They also need to reduce local carbon emissions rapidly, with the aim of becoming carbon neutral as soon as possible,” said Izzy Bunting, 18.
The latest global school strikes followed previous strikes in February and March that have involved over a million young people.
The demonstrations come in the wake of a UN report last year, which warned that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels requires unprecedented action – and that temperature rises above this threshold would be catastrophic. To avoid this, global carbon emissions must be halved within 12 years.
At an international meeting last week, broadcaster Sir David Attenborough said that humans have at most 20 years to prevent the complete destruction of the environment.
Speaking at the protest, Lily Lockett, 13, said: “How is it right for us to have to be missing school to fight for our futures?”
Emily Bush, 17, said: “The last five years have been the hottest global years on record. The government’s lack of action on tackling the climate crisis has forced students like us to take action ourselves.”
The protest followed an in-school event at Highfields School – also led by students – which involved public speakers. The school’s Matlock4Climate group has produced a short film about the climate crisis, which can be seen below: