Sunday, 21 April 2019

Girl, 10, receives support at climate change protest

Girl, 10, receives support at climate change protest

A GIRL of 10 staged a protest about climate change in Henley town centre.

Grace Gubbins, who attends Sacred Heart Primary School in Greys Hill, stood outside the town hall carrying a banner she had made the night before.

The 6ft long banner read “Climate kids are coming! Change behaviour now” and was coloured in various shades of green and blue.

Grace, 10, of Crowsley Road, Shiplake, was joined at Friday’s protest by her mother Katherine, aunt Penny Liddell and family friends Sonija Silberkuhl and Darryl Grant.

The protest coincided with a worldwide “climate strike” in which children walked out of school to stage demonstrations encouraging governments to take action against rising global temperatures.

Grace organised her event between midday and 1pm to coincide with her school lunch break and avoid missing classes.

She chatted with passers-by, several of whom stopped to congratulate and encourage her.

They said their own children had wanted to organise climate strikes or take part in them but had lost their nerve at the last minute.

Gillotts School pupils Tom Fielder, from Henley, and Aliyah Lee, from Hambleden, came to offer their support. Tom, 14, said: “This is a good thing because people should take action to save the earth and every little helps.

“The Government needs to understand that things can’t continue this way and it’s our lives that will be affected.”

Aliyah, also14, said: “I support Grace because something needs to change. The planet is at risk so what’s the point in doing anything else without trying to save it?”

Grace, who hopes to stage further protests, said: “It’s a good start as it’s only our first one. We’ve had a lot of people coming up to support it and cars have been honking as they drove past.

“I did the banner last night and it’s been blowing everywhere in the wind but we didn’t want to stick it down with tape because that would be using plastic!”

Mrs Gubbins said: “I’m very proud of her and people seem to really appreciate what she’s done.

“She wanted to do it in Parliament Square but I think it was important to do it in her own community and hopefully interest in the issue will grow.”

Grace was inspired by the efforts of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who organised the world’s first school strike last year. She read about her in current affairs magazine The Week Junior.

Earlier this year she witnessed the aftermath of the Crans-Montana avalanche in Switzerland, which killed one skier on a “safe” piste and is thought to have been partly caused by melting snow.

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