Blessington students join ‘climate strike’ protest
CLIMATE CHANGE STRIKES TAKE PLACE ACROSS COUNTY WICKLOW
BLESSINGTON was not found wanting last Friday as young people across the globe followed the lead of Greta Thunberg and called on the government to do more to tackle climate change.
Initially, the call to join the Blessington strike went out to shops and businesses in the town to show support for student strikers by closing their doors at 11 a.m. – the time symbolising the eleven years until 2030 when emissions need to be halved.
Under the guidance of art teacher Turlough O’Donnell, students from Blessington Community College created a two-metre 3D model of the earth, along with the poignant message ‘The future is in our hands’. Some 450 students (accompanied by 36 teachers) carried this, and many other banners and posters, into town as they lent their voice to the global protest.
They were met at the Downshire Monument by a large number of parents, grandparents and local workers. Parents of some primary school children also chose to take their children out of school to attend the demonstration.
Lucia Doran and Danny Walsh led the chants of ‘What do we want – a cleaner planet, when do we want it – now!’ They also read aloud the six demands of the school strikers and delivered this list of demands to the constituency office of Minister Simon Harris just across from the monument.
‘Climate change is happening and will affect us all,’ said Blessington Community College student Maya Tivnan. ‘My generation is not responsible but we are still the ones who are cleaning it up, because it is our future and our lives that will be changed for the worst if we don’t stop it now.
‘Just because we are young, does not mean we do not have a voice for change, as we are the ones who will be voting in the years to come and we are the ones who will be taking charge in the hope of a better future,’ she said.
‘This is reality, we can no longer ignore what’s right in front of our faces. Change is wanted, change is needed and change is going to happen,’ said Maya.
Another student said: ‘Even though we ourselves aren’t sick, the planet which we live on is, and we are protesting and fighting for it.’
A Facebook page set up to give details of the strike, has now been renamed Blessington Climate Action with the intention of creating some local group discussions about how both as individuals and as a community, climate change can be tackled locally.
Organisers of the strike have sent their thanks to principal Kieran Burke and all the teachers at Blessington Community College; Sandra Doran and the wonderful bell ringers, and all the shops and businesses in the town that supported the school strike.
Blessington Community College students taking part in the Climate Strike.
Students hold aloft their large 3D model of the earth.
Danny Walsh addressing the gathering.
David Bobal and Niamh Leonard.
Lauren Keogh and Aimee Hennessy.