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Students offered 'striking alternative'

A clip from the YouTube video

Rather than joining a student climate protest today, pupils at Torquay Girls’ Grammar have created an online petition and a YouTube video.

Some pupils, across the country, are expected to strike today to coincide with a UN Climate Summit in New York.

Headteacher Dr Nick Smith said: "This is awkward - we cannot give our students permission to strike, their participation and absence is unauthorised.

"However, their reasons for protesting are rational and heart-felt and many of us will have sympathy for their cause.

"They argue that climate change, created by previous generations, requires urgent action and that protesting is the only way to get politicians to listen 

"In an effort to resolve this quandary, we have created an alternative, and possibly more effective, way for them to influence the politicians.

"We have launched a Parliamentary Petition. We are asking the government to create a mechanism that takes into account the voices of under 18s when it makes decisions related to climate change. We are urging them to consult with groups of students before they create climate change policy. We would also like to see them organise a National Youth climate summit much like the UN have done.
"To promote the petition, our students have made a 2½ minute music video called Earthsong 2019. It is a version of Billy Joel’s 1989 hit, ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire,’ but with “green” lyrics.
"On Friday, 20th September, we will be telling our students and their parents that they do not need to miss any school in order to protest. We want as many students as possible to come together at morning break and be filmed singing Earthsong 2019. "

To see the petition click here

Click play to hear Headteacher Dr Nick Smith speaking to reporter Andrew Kay

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