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Fort William climate activist and Lochaber Times columnist, Holly Gillibrand, teamed up with Swedish teenage environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg at Westminster last week, to plead with national politicians to do more to tackle climate change.
Lochaber MP and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, joined fellow political leaders Jeremy Corbyn, Vince Cable and Caroline Lucas, among others, to meet with the young climate change campaigners to discuss how to respond to the climate crisis.
Ms Thunberg, 16, has already been nominated for the Nobel peace prize after triggering worldwide environmental protests with her series of school climate strikes in Sweden.
Ms Gillibrand, who attended the parliamentary round table talks, was praised by Mr Blackford for her ‘exemplary’ efforts to raise awareness of the climate crisis.
Ms Gillibrand has been striking from classes at Lochaber High School in Fort William every Friday morning since January in an effort to focus more attention on the climate change emergency.
Mr Blackford said: ‘I met with two incredible young women, Greta Thunberg and Holly Gillibrand, who is from Fort William in my constituency.
‘Holly and Greta’s efforts in encouraging more action on climate change across the globe have been exemplary. Along with countless other young people they are leading the way in the fight against climate change.
‘Leaders of all countries, including in the UK, must listen to the voice of the next generation – it is their planet to inherit, after all – and play their part in tackling the climate crisis.’
Giving her views on the trip to Westminster, including her impressions of Ms Thunberg, Holly told the Lochaber Times this week: ‘I met with UK party leaders, including Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas, to discuss climate change and the action that the UK parliament should be taking.
‘Greta Thunberg was at the meeting, as well as Anna Taylor and George Bond from UKSCN. We reached an agreement on some important steps that they [the UK party leaders] can take together to tackle the climate crisis.
‘I hope that the meeting will lead to the real and necessary action that we need to take. Obviously it has had an impact, with Jeremy Corbyn calling for the parliament to declare a national climate emergency and Nicola Sturgeon also declaring a climate emergency as the First Minister of Scotland.
‘Greta was very nice but she doesn’t speak unless she has something to say. At the meeting, Greta put it across to the MPs that they need to be communicating with young people who are from the UK, instead of her. I found her speech very powerful, especially when she talked about the UK’s ‘creative carbon accounting’.