Thirty students, three teachers and an array of brightly coloured placards with slogans like ’There’s no Planet B’ and ‘Polar Bears Don’t Have Life Insurance’ were the modest raw materials for Notre Dame’s representation at this year’s Climate Rally. But out of tiny acorns……
Four hours later we returned completely hoarse, arms aching, but feeling utterly buoyed by a belief that anything was possible; a feeling we had made a difference.
As Greta Thunberg has exemplified it is the young who will most powerfully and persuasively make the case for the future of our planet so it was heartening to see not only the Notre Dame contingent but students from schools across the city represented at Friday’s rally. At its height there were nearly 5000 people marching, many of them very young, supported by pedestrians clapping and drivers tooting their horns in approval. The climate and its change is something that is clearly impactful for the people of Sheffield.
Once the march had reached Devonshire Green, and after a brief lunch and pause to hear the political leaders and Union reps make their case, it was time to hand over to the students again to take the microphone and air their views and stories about the climate (including a number of impromptu but eloquent, articulate and passionate speeches from our very own students). Mrs Wilkinson, Mr Hogan and myself all felt so incredibly proud of them.
Maybe for a moment others like myself felt as we went back home that marching had merely been an exercise in popular protest not capable of materialising real change but Miss Thunberg and the many who have been inspired by her have already and continue to prove this is not the case.
And Mrs Wilkinson, Mr Hogan and myself have seen in Notre Dame the passion and determination from our students to take the protest and action back into our school and into the staff and student climate change groups that are already mobilising. Continue to watch this space and enormous congratulations to all involved.