Hundreds of Brighton and Hove youngsters join second climate change ‘strike’

Posted On 15 Mar 2019 at 6:00 pm

Hundreds of schoolchildren from Brighton and Hove “went on strike” for a second time today (Friday 15 March).

They held a march through the centre of Brighton, supported by parents and political activists, before a rally at The Level.

The children chanted “What do we want? Climate action! When do we want it? Now!”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, said: “It’s fantastic. It shows that young people are not only politicised but they care about the future far more than it seems our current government does.

“It’s great to see young people out. And they will probably learn more in a few days out here than they probably would in a few days in the classroom.”

Young Greens organiser Hannah Clare, a candidate for Brunswick and Adelaide ward in the Brighton and Hove City Council elections on Thursday 2 May, said: “When the government is failing to take the action we need, it’s important that young people are supported in striking for climate action.”

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, convenor of the Green group on the council, said: “I’m proud to show my support once again for the young people striking for their futures.

“I call upon those in power to listen to their demands.

“I’m also proud too that Green councillors have recently won important changes to the council budget, including winning £500,000 to help our city challenge climate change.”

The movement was inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist who went on school strike last August.

Tens of thousands of children have since walked out of school in similar protests across the world.

Campaign group Divest East Sussex said: “Over 40 schools and sixth form colleges in East Sussex are inadvertently funding global warming through their contributions to the local government pension scheme, the East Sussex Pension Fund.

“According to data provided by East Sussex County Council, the schools and colleges are contributing at least £9.8 million a year to the East Sussex Pension Fund, which is estimated to have £150 million of local people’s pension monies invested in giant oil and gas companies like Exxon and BP.

“The list of schools includes Brighton, Hove and Sussex VI Form College (BHASVIC), Varndean College and the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA).

“Burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) is the main driver of global warming.

“Campaigners calling on the council to ditch its investments in fossil fuels have already received backing from four members of the fund – Hastings Borough Council, Lewes Town Council, Lewes District Council and Brighton and Hove City Council – and are now urging schools and students to add their support.

“Around the world over 1,000 institutions in 76 countries, managing assets worth more than $8 trillion, have made some form of divestment commitment since 2012.”

Divest East Sussex spokesman Gabriel Carlyle said: “Local students are probably completely unaware that their schools are unwittingly contributing to climate change by investing, through their contributions to the East Sussex Pension Fund, in fossil fuel companies like Shell and Exxon.

“We urge local schools and their students to add their support to the call for the fund to ditch these dirty and financially risky investments.”

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