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West Norfolk pupils speak out on climate change as part of King's Lynn protest

Schoolchildren have had their say on why climate change is important to them as they took part in Global Climate Strike on Lynn's High Street this afternoon.

Youth campaigners ranging from 10 to 21-year-old joined members of the Extinction Rebellion UK group outside Boots.

Among those was 11-year-old Margaret Purves from Watlington, who had been granted authorised absence from St Mary's School in Cambridge.

Margaret Purves, 11, from Watlington
Margaret Purves, 11, from Watlington

She said: "It's important to get involved because if we do not do something now, every animal will become extinct.

"I think all the girls in my class like the idea of helping in some way."

Springwood High School pupils were also in attendance having been granted "unauthorised absence" by the school. Parents said they had received supportive emails from the school however.

Thomas Archer, 12, who attends Springwood said there is too much "misinterpretation"

He cycles everywhere and takes shared lifts when playing cricket in Snettisham, but highlighted a lack of transport options in the area as a problem.

Thomas' mother Claire added: "There's still loads more to be done. We live in a throw-away society and we all consume without thinking about it.

"There is no point in just declaring an emergency. Something needs to be backed up with action. London Road is terrible for pollution and we are condemning people to respiratory problems such as asthma."

Thomas Archer with his mother Claire
Thomas Archer with his mother Claire

Harry Bartram, 15, said his friends had decided not to join him for the protest.

"They are not supportive at all. They just say it's a load of rubbish but it's their earth as well so they should take it more seriously," he said.

Mr Bartram was inspired to get involved having also participated in children's centre and hospital protests in the town.

Organiser Jordan Stokes, 21, who is a member of Extinction Rebellion said: "It really frustrates me because we as a town could be doing so much more."

Holly Wilson, 14, a Springwood pupil, said: "We are not paying enough attention to it and it's a crisis which is only going to get worse and worse."

She attended the gathering with her two sisters Katie, 17, and Alice, 10 as well as their father Damon.

Mr Wilson said South Wootton School had been "very supportive" when allowing Alice to attend.

The scene outside Boots in King's Lynn this afternoon for the Global Climate Strike protest
The scene outside Boots in King's Lynn this afternoon for the Global Climate Strike protest

Dr Charlie Gardner, of Extinction Rebellion, is an environmentalist scientist who teaches at the University of Kent.

He said young people are prioritising climate change as a matter of concern ahead of Brexit and the economy.

Dr Gardner said: "Young people are extremely frustrated as we are the ones on the front line here with sea level changes part of the problem. We are going to pay the costs so the absolute minimum we can do is to contribute to this growing education for change."

Responding to one protester being teased by his friends for turning up, Dr Gardner said."Teenagers famously do not care about anything which is perhaps an unfair stereotype. When I was a teen,you would not have got me off the sofa for anything so it is great that young people are now getting involved which is a really great endorsement.

"Students will get much more of an education by participating in things like this rather than sitting through another lesson."

He added that 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who started striking outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018, was an inspiring figure for the protesters.

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