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A plea has gone out to Lochaber school pupils, residents, workers and businesses to show their support for action to tackle the climate emergency by joining the global strike tomorrow (Friday).
Young activists who have been taking part in weekly school strikes are expected to be joined by thousands of adults across Scotland, the UK and around the world in what is being hailed as the UK’s first general strike since 1926.
The international protest comes ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday September 23.
Among those pledging to take action are staff from the Wildcat vegan cafe in Fort William.
Joint proprietor Deanna Laforet told the Lochaber Times why they feel it is important for as many people to join the protest as possible.
‘It’s scary but we need to face up to the reality the world is in ecological crisis with the sixth mass extinction – with up to 200 species going extinct every day – and the climate emergency, both of which are the result of human activity in the financially rich world,’ she said.
‘This crisis is already displacing people, causing food and water shortages and extreme weather events in other parts of the world and we will all feel the affects of it soon.
‘Whoever we are – an individual, a family, a company, a multi-national corporation, a charity, a government – we should all act to address this crisis and to try to safeguard the future of our home, the Earth, for all people and other species who live here.
‘This is why we, The Wildcat, are joining the Global Strike for the Climate this Friday. Join us.’
Andrew Squire, one of the founders of the local branch of Extinction Rebellion (XR), added: ‘Millions of people around the world will be walking out of their workplaces on Friday to join the young climate strikers in their demand for an end to the age of fossil fuels.
‘The effects of global over-heating and ecological collapse have already started – this is a matter of fact. And the effects of the climate crisis will, unavoidably, have a serious impact on us all, including here in Lochaber.
‘So we urge all employees and businesses to join the youth and call for an end to the system that is destroying life on our planet and threatening the survival of millions of people, plants and animals over the next few decades.
‘As with a car hurtling towards a brick wall, the sooner we put the brakes on, the more we will reduce the impact. The youth have risen and it is time for the adults to join them – for the sake of our children and grandchildren.’
Lochaber Times environment columnist Holly Gillibrand, who is gradually achieving national recognition for her own school climate strike action, will also be among those protesting.
‘If you care about the environment, people or want your children to have a liveable future, please come to the school strike, no matter who you are or where you come from,’ said Ms Gillibrand.
‘It is important we hear the voices of everyone because the climate and ecological crisis is going to impact everyone. We all need to rise up and put pressure on the people in power to take action for our future and our planet.
‘There is a question we all must ask ourselves. Will you act now or will history look back on you as one who did nothing while the world was facing the biggest catastrophe in the history of humankind?’
School authorities in New York have said they will excuse any absences by pupils taking part in the protests, expected to be led in the city by Swedish teenage climate action figurehead Greta Thunberg.
Asked for its view, a Highland Council spokesperson said: ‘Highland Council schools and the council as education authority does not sanction unauthorised absence from school. No pupil will be punished for striking. If they do strike, their attendance record will be marked with an unauthorised absence.’
‘Strikers’ will meet at 9am at Lochaber High School tomorrow (Friday) before making their way to Fort William High Street.
Lochaber climate activist Holly Gillibrand with one of the banners she will be taking to tomorrow’s protest in Fort William. Photograph: Abrightside Photography.
NO F38 Holly to strike for climate change-7