*Pictured: Louise Cusack lets her feelings be known at the climate action strike in Ennis last week
A THOUSAND Clare secondary school students made their voices heard last Friday as they took to the streets of Ennis and Ennistymon in a demonstration aimed to tackle climate change.
Chants of “What do we want, climate action” came from teenagers assembled at O’Connell Square where students were joined by passers-by and fellow activists. In an impassioned statement sent to The Clare Echo, Coláiste Mhuire student Kate Harty (15) – a member of the Green Schools Committee – said her dreams are sliding away due to climate change.
“We stood together to show that we were there for climate action. We were there to make the Government see that we care. As children and teenagers, we cannot vote. So we were doing one of the only things we can do to get the Government to see our opinion and hear our voice – skipping school.
“The Government won’t be here in 50 years’ time to clean up this mess they are creating and ignoring. If they don’t start to change now, we may never be able to clean it up. There is no planet B. Greta Thunberg started striking on Fridays in August, 2018. Then, she was only one person with a cardboard sign. Only seven months later, tens of thousands of children and teenagers are striking for climate justice. When the time is right, it only takes one person to change the world.”
Katy continued, “When you’re young, you have big dreams. Dreams of becoming an astronaut or an explorer. Dreams of being the first person on Mars or the best dancer in the world. Right now, I have a dream for my future, but that dream is sliding rapidly away from me, because our future is uncertain, due to the lack of response to climate change. From what would have been certain a hundred years ago has now turned to a hope. For example, instead of saying ‘I will see the year 2070’ we are increasingly having to say ‘I hope to see the year 2070’.
“Politicians across Ireland, I speak for all of my generation. Hoping for a future is not good enough. And you are the ones taking that future away from us without thinking twice about it. In the words of Greta Thunberg, ‘you say you love your children above all else and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes’.
Meanwhile, Clare County Council is inviting the young voices that organized the recent strike to speak at the seat of democracy in Clare at next month’s April 2019 County Council meeting.