Lochaber pupil set to strike for cli­mate change ac­tion

The Oban Times - - LOCHABER TIMES - by Mark En­twistle men­[email protected]­times.co.uk

Thir­teen-year-old Lochaber High School pupil Holly Gil­li­brand will to­mor­row (Fri­day) walk out of school to stage a one-hour strike in sup­port of calls for more gov­ern­ment ac­tion to tackle cli­mate change.

Holly, from Kin­locheil, is in sec­ond year at the Fort Wil­liam sec­ondary, and says she has been in­spired by the as­ton­ish­ing speech given at the re­cent UN sum­mit on cli­mate change in Poland by teenage cli­mate cam­paigner Greta Thun­berg.

The ad­dress by the 15-yearold from Swe­den, in which she shamed cli­mate change ne­go­tia­tors at the sum­mit over their lack of ac­tion so far, went viral on­line.

‘You are not ma­ture enough to tell it like it is,’ Ms Thun­berg said at the COP24 sum­mit. ‘Even that bur­den you leave to us chil­dren. But I don’t care about be­ing pop­u­lar. I care about cli­mate jus­tice and the liv­ing planet.’

The Swedish teenager has now in­spired thou­sands of young peo­ple in 40 coun­tries around the globe to walk out of their schools on Fri­days in a de­mand that adults take more rad­i­cal ac­tion on cli­mate change.

Now Holly, al­ready fast be­com­ing a sea­soned en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist with a re­cent cam­paign around Fort Wil­liam on sin­gle-use plas­tic, is set to fol­low in Ms Thun­berg’s foot­steps.

Sol­i­dar­ity

She told the Lochaber Times: ‘I am plan­ning to cli­mate strike in sol­i­dar­ity with Greta Thun­berg ev­ery Fri­day from 8.45am to 9.45am and I hope more stu­dents and peo­ple will join me.

‘On Fe­bru­ary 15 there is also go­ing to be a UK-wide school strike, so hope­fully I will have a group of peo­ple strik­ing with me by then.

‘I am strik­ing be­cause the UK gov­ern­ment is not do­ing enough to pre­vent rapid cli­mate break­down and to have net zero green­house gas emis­sions by 2025.’

Holly’s mum Kate Wil­lis is one of the found­ing mem­bers of the new Fort Wil­liam branch of the Ex­tinc­tion Re­bel­lion protest move­ment on cli­mate change, which will stage its first meet­ing on Jan­uary 22 in the town’s Dun­cans­burgh Hall.

She says her daugh­ter, who even­tu­ally wants to be a vet, has her full sup­port for the se­ries of Fri­day cli­mate strikes and in­tends be­ing with her to­mor­row out­side the school. ‘We have no­ti­fied the school that Holly will be ab­sent for an hour – she will be miss­ing a drama class – and hope­fully many oth­ers will lend their sup­port,’ she said. ‘Hope­fully, any oth­ers will be do­ing it for the right rea­sons and not just be­cause they fancy an hour out of school.

‘It would be best if any young peo­ple want­ing to join Holly make sure their par­ents give their consent and no­tify the school.’

Pho­to­graph: Iain Fer­gu­son, The Write Im­age

Holly Gil­li­brand says she has been in­spired by young Swedish cli­mate ac­tivist Greta Thun­berg’s speech at the UN’s re­cent cli­mate sum­mit in Poland.

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