‘They’ve given us hope’ – praise for Kilkenny students who took a stand on climate change
A KILKENNY councillor has praised the local students who took part in the global School Strike for Climate last week.
Following an unprecedented day of student mobilisation to highlight political inaction on climate change, Green Party councillor and local government spokesperson Malcolm Noonan said he was incredibly proud of the many students in Kilkenny who took part in ‘School Strike for Climate’.
Cllr Noonan said: “Kilkenny can stand proud among the thousands of communities across the world who made history on Friday March 15. As a weary campaigner, last Friday the young people of Kilkenny showed me that there is hope and that we can turn this around.”
More than a million young people joined the strike worldwide, which was started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.
Cllr Noonan said young people are now making life very uncomfortable for the political elite, because in a few short years they will all be voters and will oust those who fail to act.
He added: “I wish to commend all the schools who took part and their schools for facilitating their participation in what will in my view go down as a historic day and possibly a turning point in how we respond to the climate crisis.
“I think many people feel overwhelmed by it all but our young people are showing leadership and a path forward. They are sending us as policymakers a clear message that they refuse to have their collective future compromised by our inaction.”
Cllr Noonan praised Finnian Breen of Kilkenny CBS who coordinated the local schools’ response, Maire Ní Bhraonáin, volunteer stewards and Kilkenny gardai “who supported the event and kept people safe”.
He added: “It was a most uplifting event but there’s a serious message in it for Government. Minister for Environment and Climate Action; Richard Bruton in welcoming the strike, said he is going to publish an ambitious plan but is speaking out of both sides of his mouth in stating that the Government remains committed to oil and gas exploration.”
Cllr Noonan said the students of Kilkenny can take “great pride in being part of such a vital global movement”.
He added: “This is the defining issue of our time and time is not on our side. We have a few short years to transform our food system, energy, transport, built environment and how we protect nature. Many of us campaigning for decades had all but given up hope but now that hope is renewed thanks to the mobilisation of our young people and they will not be stopped until their future is secure. Loreto School student, Sarah Kelly put it best in her powerful address to the gathering when she said: ‘We are running out of time, unless we make a stand to take back what rightfully belongs to us-the future’.”
PICTURES: Cllr Malcolm Noonan and CBS Kilkenny Facebook