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A Day in the Life

Tread more lightly upon our Environment

Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish girl, has been regularly protesting about climate change outside the Swedish parliament since August.

From those humble beginnings a global movement has emerged, most evidently in the day of pupil strikes that took place the final school day before the February half term. The local news here showed a haphazard group of young people taking to the streets of Stratford with homemade placards. Many dismissed this as simply truanting – an opportunity to skive a day off school. I disagree. While I cannot condone pupils missing school, I do believe the motivations of most were sincere and should be taken seriously.

We must not underestimate how frustrated young people are with the current political climate. Brexit approaches – something they did not vote for but which will affect them the most – and the grown-ups still have not got a clue how it will all pan out. Meanwhile, with all the attention on that process, crucial issues such as climate change are going under the radar. And all the while the clock is ticking. I was talking to a younger pupil about this the other day and describing the effects of a 2 degree rise in temperature – the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, the rise in sea levels and the effect on low lying cities. The colour drained from his face when he realised that a process he thought would take thousands of years could be having significant consequences in under fifty years – in his lifetime.

Mr Thomson is leading the Green Team here and gave an assembly earlier this term on how we as a school are going to tread more lightly upon our environment, with the elimination of most single-use plastics and wider recycling. On Friday 29 March is “Ditch the Car Day” and I really want to see large numbers of boys who are normally driven in making the journey on public transport or walking. I hope parents will get on board with this and I anticipate that will be just the start of a number of measures we all have to take to make a genuine difference.

Meanwhile, Greta Thunberg has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian MPs who nominated her recognised that if climate change goes badly wrong it will lead to conflict as displaced millions flee low lying areas and more frequent extreme weather events. It is that serious and we cannot delay the process of dealing with it.