Young people skip school and brave the rain to protest for a rethink on climate change.
Despite the adverse weather, in Hebden Bridge town square this morning you could find dozens of school children waving banners, banging drums and addressing the crowd through a megaphone in a bid to get the attention of government officials.
YouthStrike4Climate is a global movement that began in Sweden last August by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who sat outside the Swedish Parliament building rather than attending school.
Now students across the world are following suit, and the latest gathering was right here in Hebden Bridge.
The students weren’t alone however. Amongst those showing solidarity with the young people was Cllr Josh Fenton-Glynn. He told The Calder Crier: “I’ve come mainly to support young people. It’s becoming more and more important that, as a global community, we take seriously our responsibility to act on climate change.”
With the weather eventually forcing the group inside, they took refuge at The Birchcliffe Centre where the young people continued to discuss the issues surrounding climate change and what they could do to help the cause.
Samantha Whiteside, a proud parent of two young activists, said: “I think what the children are doing is amazing and I fully support them.
“The movement they’ve started, people certainly need to start listening in the government and political arena. They’re making really bad decisions about the future and they’re totally disregarding climate change.”
Her daughter also has a message for other young people, saying: “They need to think about how our future is more important that school right now.”
Richard Dunbar, a Community Organiser for the Labour Party, also came along to display support. He said: “I think it’s a break through moment, not only this year, but in history. Young people are taking control and saying to the adults very, very clearly: ‘it’s not time to sit back, we need to take action.’ We should all be inspired by that.”
It would seem that today’s demonstrations delivered some success. Speaking to the young people, Mr Dunbar relayed a message of “solidarity and support” from Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Corbyn said: “Climate change is a threat that we all face but it is you, the school kids of today, whose futures are most on the line.
“You are right to feel let down by the generations before you and it’s inspiring to see you making your voice heard today. Thank you for standing up against climate change. You have my support. I hear your message. Let’s discuss how we can work together to protect our planet in solidarity.”
They have declared a climate emergency and are attempting to implement policies that can reduce their carbon impact.
“What we’re trying to make sure of, in everything that we do as an authority, we take seriously the impact of climate change,” Mr Fenton-Glynn said. “You can easily get caught up with the now and not think about the long term. Climate change has to be a part of every action that we take.”