Bless­ing­ton stu­dents join ‘cli­mate strike’ protest


Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

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.

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