Fri, 20 Sept 2019
MORE than 150 climate protesters marched through Newbury as part of Global Climate Strike today (Friday), writes Nicole Baddeley.
The protest began in the Market Place at 11.30am, the protesters then marched through the town to Parkway and back up to the West Berkshire Council offices where speeches were delivered.
At midday alarms were sounded to coincide with alarms across the world to highlight “the need to wake up to the climate crisis.”
Co-organiser and member of Extinction Rebellion Newbury Christine Essex said: “It’s fabulous, I'm so pleased to see everyone and of course it’s mostly for the children. I’m here because I have a 16-year-old son and it's their future that worries me the most.”
The protesters were calling for three things from the Government: to tell the truth about the climate crisis, to achieve carbon zero by 2025 and to set up a citizen’s assembly.
Member of the Young Climate Strikers, Lois Ryan, 17, said: “I’m quite blown away, this is the biggest protest we’ve had yet.
“It’s inspiring to see how many people feel strongly enough to come out and try and make a difference and get that dialogue with the Government.”
During the protests chants such as: ‘show me what democracy looks like - this is what democracy looks like’ and ‘hey ho, climate change has got to go’ were being sung by all.
Student activist Lorien Carter, 17, said: “I’ve come out today to support the movement because I don't think the Government is doing enough. We need institutional change, we need the Government to do something.”
There were more than double the number of protesters today than the first climate strike in Newbury in February.
Among the crowd was father-of-three Christopher de Cazal, who said: “My son is very concerned about his future and so am I. I’ve got three children and I want them to be able to live a long and happy life without facing the awful consequences of climate change.”
West Berkshire Council’s support for a third runway at Heathrow was also condemned by many in attendance.
Mr de Cazal added: “I think the Heathrow expansion is a terrible idea and we should be cutting down on aviation, not encouraging and increasing it.
“The Government aren’t even close to doing enough, they talk about it a lot but the real action on the ground isn’t enough.”
Speaking outside the council offices, Liz Darcy Jones, member of Extinction Rebellion said: “This movement absorbs everybody’s skills and we are greater than the sum of our parts.
“Being a part of this is really moving and can lift you when you are feeling this despair that many of the young people here are feeling.”
The event was organised by West Berks Climate Action Network, Extinction Rebellion Newbury, Friends of the Earth Berkshire, members of the Wildlife Trust and the local school strikers.