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Newham schoolchildren on climate strike call for urgent action to save the planet

PUBLISHED: 15:00 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:20 23 September 2019

Youngsters gathered at the Stratford Centre for the global climate strike. Picture: Jon King

Youngsters gathered at the Stratford Centre for the global climate strike. Picture: Jon King

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Youngsters have taken part in a global climate strike urging the government to take immediate action to save the planet.

Nuala Doak and Eedie Baker-Thompson on climate strike. Picture: Jon KingNuala Doak and Eedie Baker-Thompson on climate strike. Picture: Jon King

About 10 protesters held placards aloft as they departed from the Stratford Centre heading to Parliament Square to take part on Friday, September 20.

Eedie Baker-Thompson, 14, said: "[Climate change] is a major issue we need to fix. Much more needs to be done."

Millions of young people across the world have been taking part in protests, demanding more is done to stop abnormal changes to the weather caused by gases including carbon dioxide and methane.

However, some have questioned whether children should be missing school to take part.

Members of Newham Extinction Rebellion with supporters at the Stratford Centre. Picture: Jon KingMembers of Newham Extinction Rebellion with supporters at the Stratford Centre. Picture: Jon King

Nuala Doak, 14, said: "We're missing a day, but this is an investment in our future."

Eedie added: "If we're not [striking], we won't have a future and all these qualifications will be meaningless."

Both agreed the threat of getting an unauthorised absence from their schools had no effect on their decision to strike and missing a day was unlikely to affect their GCSEs.

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Radhika Bynon from Newham's branch of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement, said: "Young people have been really articulate in saying, 'Our house is on fire and you're all just chatting about it'.

"They are saying [to government] put your shoulder to the wheel."

Among the ideas, Newham's young climate change activists want companies to be taxed depending on the amount of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere and improvements to recycling in Newham.

Newham XR campaigners also spent the day at the Stratford Centre in a bid to inform passersby about the climate emergency.

Radhika explained its priorities were to work with Newham Council on improving air quality in the borough, but they would also be challenging the local authority to act with greater urgency.

Newham declared a climate emergency in April, committing itself to balancing its carbon emissions with carbon removal by 2030 and not releasing any of the gas by 2050.

It has an air quality action plan and is carrying out a public consultation on the issue.

Radhika admitted getting more young people to care was a challenge.

"Some don't believe change will happen. They feel despondent. But the reality is there is a group of young people passionate and engaged who will take their peers with them."

East Ham MP Stephen Timms visited XR Newham's Stratford Centre stall during the day of action, but when quizzed on London City Airport's expansion he repeated his support saying it would secure jobs.


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