Irish Students Plan Protest Against Climate Inaction
By Sofy Robertson
The Schools’ Climate Action Network published a press release at the end of January containing details of planned strike action by students in Irish secondary schools.
Students at nine secondary schools in Ireland have called on their fellow students to engage in a mass protest during the school day on Friday March 15th. This protest aims to demand action from the Irish government on climate change.
Inspired by the rapidly growing movement of young people speaking out about climate change, and in particular by 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, a number of Irish students plan to walk out of school on Friday 15th March as part of Greta’s #FridaysForFuture movement.
Students at schools including Cork Educate Together Secondary School (CETSS), North Wicklow Educate Together Secondary School (NWETSS), The King’s Hospital School in Dublin and Limerick Educate Together Secondary School are planning protests to highlight the dangers posed by the “failure of adults to address climate change”.
Within the release from The Schools’ Climate Action Network, a number of students expressed their views on the importance of standing up for change.
Mira Henchi, a second-year student from CETSS said:
“We don’t want to live in the consequences of your bad actions. There is no option two. If we don’t act now, we may not be able to act at all.”
Elodie Bonhomme, also in her second year at CETSS said:
“If one person speaks out, then people in power won’t notice, but if there’s a big group of us students doing something, then it’ll get noticed. We urge you to join us on the 15th March.”
In taking strike action on March 15th, these Irish students will be joining other young people from around the world who are taking part in a global ‘School Strike for Climate Action’.
Lucas Feller, a first-year student from CETSS emphasised:
“This isn’t just a one-day thing or a day off school for us. This is us trying to make a bigger impact on the world.”
Students, with the help of their teachers, are connecting other students and members of staff around the country who are concerned about the climate to build a Schools’ Climate Action Network.
Colm O’Connor, principal of CETSS spoke about the students’ plans, saying:
“Young people in secondary schools don’t have a vote, but will be more affected by climate change than those in power. What we do in the next twelve years will affect them for the rest of their lives.
“It’s very inspiring to see students in our school and in so many other schools around Ireland so passionate about this and determined to make their voices heard.
“This is an excellent opportunity for school principals and teachers around the country to promote authentic Student Voice, and I would strongly urge other school leaders to join the network and support their students if they choose to get involved on March 15th.”
Pádraig Conaty, deputy principal at NWETSS, also spoke out in support of his students, saying:
“In tackling climate action, students are activating key skills, engaging with global issues, and learning to become active citizens. Active citizenship and providing a real and meaningful platform for student voice is a cornerstone of our school.”
To find out more about the global strike for climate change, visit the School Strike 4 Climate Change website. A twitter account has also been set up as an initial means of communication for the Irish students who are planning to strike.