BY JACKIE KEOGH
STUDENTS in Schull took the serious business of striking out onto the streets, while in New York, Skibbereen’s Alicia O’Sullivan was the sole Irish voice at the first UN Youth Climate Action Summit.
Leah Barrett, a sixth-year student at Schull Community College, documented the protest with photographs, video and reportage for The Southern Star, while in New York, Alicia O’Sullivan posted a rallying cry for the millions who took part in the Global Climate Strike protest saying: ‘Let’s keep fighting for change!’
Alicia was in the second row of the auditorium at the United Nation’s headquarters, listening with rapt attention, when the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg gave the speech that rocked the world this week.
To all the business and political leaders who have failed to respond with appropriate action to the climate change science that has been available for the last 30 years, Greta Thunberg said: ‘We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now, is where we draw the line. The world is waking up and change is coming, whether you like it or not.’
Alicia O’Sullivan admitted: ‘When she spoke those powerful words, I sobbed.’ In addition to being able to hear a hard truth, Alicia said that what we need to do now is ‘work towards engaging with leaders’ so the drastic action that is needed will be taken.
Meanwhile, direct action was taken in Schull. Not only was the Community College the only West Cork school to take to the streets last week to make their protest heard, they have also set clear, achievable goals.
Students from @SchullCollege taking part in the worldwide global climate strike this morning.
— The Southern Star (@SouthernStarIRL) September 20, 2019
Leah Barrett confirmed: ‘We are aiming to become a single-use plastic-free school. We plan to invest in solar panels, and add a water bottle filling station for re-useable bottles.’
Instead of travelling to Cork to join the Global Climate Strike, Leah said they deliberately decided to keep their protest local because ‘change happens at local level’.
Each and every one of the students at the school took part in the protest in the school grounds and out on the streets. They were joined by their teachers, some parents, Cllr Holly Cairns (SD), and the Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, who walked, proudly, in solidarity with the secondary school students.