Hundreds of young people took to the streets of Bath last Friday, 24th May, as part of planned strike action to raise awareness of the ongoing climate emergency.
At 11am, over 1000 young people with signs and banners congregated outside the Guildhall.
The strike began with a road block that lasted around 20 minutes, before the group marched to SouthGate.
Four protestors carried a coffin, which organisers say was symbolic of the failure by previous governments to act seriously in response to the climate and ecological crisis.
The coffin contained 14 demands being made to Bath and North East Somerset Council.
In SouthGate, as the coffin was laid to the ground, the youngsters fell to the floor, staging a die in to represent the Sixth Mass Extinction.
During the ‘die in’ Tom, a student from King Edwards School in Bath, read from a scroll listing extinct species.
Charlie, aged 13 from John of Gaunt School, Trowbridge said: “It has begun. The sixth mass extinction has started. The first of its kind in over half a billion years but this time it wasn’t caused naturally: we did this. Humans. Us. To our home.
“We, the human race, need to wake up and realise that we are endangered too.”
Lilli, aged 16, from the Royal High School in Bath added: “I think these strikes are crucial for getting anything done. Nothing else has seemed to work, and I’m sure most of you out here today can’t even vote – yet the climate crisis will be affecting our future the most.”
Sarah Warren, Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Neighbourhood Services (Bathavon North), received the demands on the steps to the Guildhall at the end of the strike and addressed the crowd.
She said: ‘Through your actions you have brought this crisis into the public eye, you have forced the government to take notice. You have given me and no doubt many others new hope.
“Together, we have started to tell the truth about the climate disaster and the crisis in the natural world.”
The school strike movement in Bath is directly inspired by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist who has inspired the world’s youth to step up and challenge government inaction on the climate and ecological crisis before it’s too late.
In a statement, Bath & North East Somerset Council said: “We understand the strength of feeling shown today by young people and many others from across our community.
“We share their concerns and recognise that urgent action is needed. We have declared a Climate Emergency and are committed to provide leadership to enable carbon neutrality by 2030.
“The council is drawing up an action plan and we look forward to meeting with representatives of the Bath Youth Climate Alliance in early June to discuss their ideas and requests.
“The new administration has already introduced changes to reflect its commitment to tackling climate change. We have created a cabinet portfolio specifically for Climate Emergency and every council decision will now be assessed for how it delivers our climate commitments.”
Cllr Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “It is clear that this is an issue young people feel passionately about and I have been inspired by their determination to bring about change.
“Earlier this year we declared a climate emergency and we are now looking at how we can inspire and enable our community to reduce their carbon emissions.
“By making changes locally we can have an impact, but climate change is a global issue and Governments across the world need to act.”