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Cambridge schoolkids protest climate change

Zero Carbon aren’t the only ones

Following in the footsteps of Zero Carbon, a University focused climate campaign group, protesting is becoming increasingly common across Cambridge.

Today, schoolchildren from across the city, joined by university students and residents of Cambridge, staged a climate protest on King's Parade, lying on the ground for 11 minutes to symbolise the 11 years left before we increase global warming further than 1.5 °C , which according to the IPCC will be catastrophic.

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Lying down for 11 minutes proved too much for some

The symbolism of the protest continued with organisers attempting a blue theme, representing the sea-level rise predicted to disproportionately affect the Global South. This is of particular concern at the moment, given the recent flooding in Mozambique and Zimbabwe as a result of Cyclone Idai.

The students arrived at King's Parade at 11am, with the bells of St Mary's, the university church, signalling the start of the lie-in. Afterwards, speeches were given calling on the local authority, as well as national bodies, to be more climate conscious. This tactic is different to the more direct banner drops and targeting of corpus clock.

The protests are part of the wider youth climate strike movement, started by Greta Thunberg, using her "Fridays for Future" campaign. Organised by the Cambridge Schools Eco-Council, students at local schools took inspiration from the bigger strikes on the 15th of May that took place across the UK, with over 1000 marching in Cambridge. Cambridge students are taking slightly less risk however, undertaking this protest during the school holidays.

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Even when protesting there's always time for memes

As ever in Cambridge, there was strong university involvement with the students being joined by Rowan Williams, Master of Magdelene College and Sir Martin Rees, previous Master of Trinity College. Williams commented "This is their world and our generation have come close to wrecking it. I hope their clear voices will prompt us all to respond to the crisis with greater energy and imagination, and I'm delighted to be able to support them in this way".

The involvement of Williams however does not mean that Magdelene have a perfect record on climate issues. They are among the majority of colleges who are yet to divest, despite their JCR passing a motion in support.

The climate protest movement is showing no sign of slowing down, with a bigger protest planned for the 24th of May in conjunction with the Global Strike for Climate.

Photo credits go to Tom Dorrington