Lochaber High teenager’s climate strike action to continue

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The Lochaber High School teenager who staged a walkout on Friday in protest at the lack of action to tackle climate breakdown intends continuing her weekly strikes.

Second year pupil Holly Gillibrand, 13, was joined by her mother, a friend and three other adults on the pavement outside the school for an hour from 8.45am on Friday.

Although only a very small demonstration, Holly’s mum Kate Willis said there was plenty of shows of support with drivers honking their horns and some shouting encouragement from their vehicles.

‘The Lochaber Times story was also followed up in The Herald, The National and the Press and Journal,’ said Ms Willis this week.

Holly, from Kinlocheil, was inspired to take action by the recent speech given at the recent UN summit on climate change in Poland by teenage climate campaigner Greta Thunberg.

The address by the 15-year-old from Sweden went viral after she shamed climate change negotiators over their lack of progress.

Ms Willis added: ‘We have heard some other students are now keen to join in the Friday climate strikes, as well as a few more adults.

‘While there was not a huge turnout on Friday, I think Holly’s action will have raised awareness of climate issues in the school to very nearly 100 per cent of the student body.

Holly and her mum are hoping more Lochaber High School pupils will join her for February 15’s UK-wide school strike over climate breakdown.

Ms Willis is also a member of the new Fort William branch of the Extinction Rebellion protest movement on climate change, which stages its first meeting on Tuesday January 22 in the town’s Duncansburgh Hall.

She added: ‘It would be best if any young people wanting to join Holly make sure their parents give their consent and notify the school.’

Asked to comment on the school strike action, a Highland Council spokesperson said: ‘The Highland Council’s programme includes a specific commitment to introduce a range of strategies and plans to support our commitment to sustainability.

‘The programme is committed to foster sustainable local communities and to developing a sustainable local workforce.

‘The education authority cannot sanction unauthorised absence from school, no matter how well-meaning the intention.’



Lochaber High School pupil Holly Gillibrand, front right, organised Friday’s protest. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos