Students from the University of Gloucestershire were among those who went on strike in Cheltenham to demand climate action from their local authorities yesterday.
The demonstrators gathered on the courtyard at Francis Close Hall campus at 12pm with numbers in the hundreds, including both students and non-students.
After a few speeches had been given, they set off from the campus and made their way to the council offices on the Promenade, where they protested peacefully for an hour.
The strike was led by the UoG Green Team, who aim to make the university more sustainable. Yolande Booyse, the team’s president, described climate change as ‘the most pressing issue that we face as a human race’ and highlighted the need for students to speak out against it.
‘It’s important for everyone to be involved in this, [but] students in particular because as a young person, you have a fresh perspective,’ she said. ‘It’s like the new person coming into the classroom – if people have been doing stuff the same way for a long time, they don’t always see what’s wrong with the system. And when you come in as a fresh face with a fresh perspective, you see the flaws in the system.’
Elizabeth Towers-Clark, a third-year Business and Marketing Management student who attended the strike, said it was a good way to illustrate the importance of climate action for those who hadn’t fully grasped it.
‘You can’t see climate change just from looking around, but seeing this big group of people that are all like-minded and have knowledge on what’s happening, I think, is just a really good way to raise awareness,’ she said.
Cheltenham Borough Council’s cabinet declared a climate emergency in July, after local action led by councillor Max Wilkinson (Liberal Democrats, Oakley). A report is due to be taken to full council next month, outlining how the council will respond to the emergency.