‘It’s scary’ - in the wake of countrywide youth protests, what do young people in Suffolk think about climate change?

Young demonstrators during a climate change protest in Bristol. The demonstration was one of many st

Young demonstrators during a climate change protest in Bristol. The demonstration was one of many strikes for climate change which took place across the UK on Friday. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Thousands of young people across the UK opted to miss school or college on Friday to demand action on climate change.

Suffolk One students Sam, Ross and Grace discuss climate change Pictures by John Nice

Suffolk One students Sam, Ross and Grace discuss climate change Pictures by John Nice - Credit: Archant

Organisers said action was planned in at least 60 towns and cities across the UK - including Norwich and Cambridge - as part of the #YouthStrike4Climate movement, although there was no news of any events taking place in Suffolk.

The action comes in the wake of protests in other countries like Sweden, Germany and Australia where thousands of children from both primary and secondary schools have gone on ‘strike’. The #YouthStrike4Climate calls for governments to declare a climate emergency and prioritise the protection of life on Earth; to reform the national curriculum to address the ecological crisis; and incorporate youth views into policy-making.

READ MORE: East Anglia on the ‘front line’ of managing the impact of climate change, says Environment Agency director

The UK Students Climate Network (USCN) is co-ordinating action in the UK. It is headed up by Anna Taylor, an A level student who goes to school in north London.

Grace Maly

Grace Maly - Credit: Archant

Speaking to the EADT, Ms Taylor said: “We feel the burden of responsibilty much more than previous generations, and feel disappointed and almost betrayed by the lack of action around climate change. Teenagers listen to their peers and it is more likely that the movement will take off here through seeing other students being empowered across the globe.”

Here, we ask young people from the region about their concerns on climate change:

Grace Maly, 18, from Ipswich studies A-levels at One Sixth Form College

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Does climate change concern you?

It’s scary – I don’t think the media concentrate on this issue enough – I mean species are going extinct and one day we are not going to be able live on the earth. Therefore, I think the protests are a good idea and I’d have gone on them if I’d known about them.

Ross Spinner

Ross Spinner - Credit: Archant

Ross Spinner, 18, from Capel St Mary studies A-levels at One Sixth Form College.

Does climate change concern you?

I can’t get my head around the fact that so many people are in denial. There are so many signs – like the Maldives and the glaciers – we went to Iceland on a field trip and we saw how much the glaciers had changed in just a couple of years. You cannot avoid climate change. You can’t get around your country falling into the sea – it’s a ticking time bomb.

In terms of the protests, if you can stop the world working for the day – the amount of money that is lost – it starts picking up on people’s radar – things like this have got to happen to create change.

Sam Girling

Sam Girling - Credit: Archant

Sam Girling from Ipswich studies A-levels at One Sixth Form College

Are the protests a good idea?

It helps improve the awareness – I think everyone needs to get involved. More people understand it and know what it is about but they are just not doing enough. Global warming is a massive issue. It concerns me – the ice melting – the water rising – Felixstowe is just half an

hour away, it will have an impact.

Edward Relton, 17, from Ipswich studies forensic science at Suffolk New College

Edward Relton

Edward Relton - Credit: Archant

Does climate change concern you?

We should do more to protect the environment. I’ve read that in the grand scheme of things, if the world has been here for 24 hours then we have been around for about four seconds. We’ve come along and started destroying our surroundings. It just seems so pointless.

I think generally people don’t take environmental issues seriously enough. I think people are a bit self-obsessed. We are destroying so many species and some of these species could hold cures for cancer – things are being lost and destroyed and we are too focused on ourselves.

Thomas Maudsley, 16, from Ipswich studies forensic science at Suffolk New College.

Does climate change concern you?

Thomas Maudsley

Thomas Maudsley - Credit: Archant

I wouldn’t say that I worry about it every day, however, I’m aware that there are areas of plastic in the sea as large as some countries so we are not preparing for the future as well as we should be.

I’ve not heard about these protests but I would consider getting involved - I think they are a good idea if they bring awareness to these issues.

READ MORE: Make best use of time to prepare for sea level rise, says coast flood expert

Yasmin Johnson, 20, from Great Yarmouth, studies animal management at East Coast College.

Millie Sadd

Millie Sadd - Credit: Archant

Does climate change bother you?

Yes – I think we should be concerned. From a wildlife and conservation perspective, it [climate change] has lots of consequences to the environment. Despite all the evidence, some people still don’t seem to believe that it is happening.

Do you know anyone who is getting involved in the protests?

I don’t but I would potentially get involved. I think they are a good thing and young people are now realising that they need to stand up for what they believe in.

Frances Lear from Lowestoft is studying animal management and wildlife conservation at East Coast College

Do you know of anyone who is getting involved in these protests?

I’ve seen them on social media but the ones I’ve heard about are happening abroad. I think they [the protests] are a good idea as they allow young people to voice their opinion on a subject that they care about. Hopefully these protests will bring these issues to the attention of the government.

Are you concerned by climate change?

I think these issues are very important. We have one planet and we need to look after it for future generations. Living in Lowestoft, in my lifetime I have seen the damage that has been caused by coastal erosion.

Millie Sadd, 16, is the student president at Easton and Otley College and studies public services

Does climate change matter to you?

Yes it does. We did something in English lessons recently and one of my classmates said this issue won’t happen in our lifetimes. This created a healthy debate where we talked about the impact that climate change will have on future generations – our children and grandchildren.

I think this generation can and should do more to help this issue and I think this protest is a good idea.