CALLS by the youth of Redditch to declare a Climate Emergency in the battle against global warming have won the backing of borough council leader Matt Dormer.
The youngsters joined tens of thousands around the globe last Friday in a day of action organised by the pressure group Youth Strike 4 Climate.
Their aim was to call on both Redditch Borough and Bromsgrove District Councils to declare a Climate Emergency.
This is a pledge to act on climate change such as a commitment to go carbon neutral by 2030. So far 37 local authorities across the UK have committed to doing just that.
It comes after the United Nations made clear major steps have to be taken by 2030 around the world to avoid a climate catastrophe.
In Redditch the protest, organised by 16-year-old Redditch student Alisha Zahid (pictured), attracted a host of wellwishers and supporters including borough councillor Anthony Lovell (Con, Winyates) and the Reverend Steve Levett from the Ecumenical Centre.
“We are simply not taking climate change seriously. The loss of biodiversity, everything to do with the natural environment is being swept under the carpet,” said Coun Lovell.
“We have got to as a society change our ways, otherwise in 20 years time where are we going to be?”
He also backed calls for the borough council to declare a climate emergency.
“I’m for it,” he said. “Something needs to be done. For instance our insect population is 60 per cent lower, butterflies are disappearing and the thing is, the young people of today do not realise what has already gone. My heart breaks for them.”
The Rev Levett added: “I am glad to support the stand these young people are taking. We have to take climate change seriously and change our ways.
“Usually it’s the adults making the decisions and it challenges us when young people speak out and it gives me hope that our young people are grasping this issue.”
One visitor was Coun Matt Dormer (Con, West) the authority’s leader who later that day said he too was backing the campaign.
“I think we have to take what’s happening in the world much more seriously,” he said.
“We all have to do more, not just the council, like recycling more and acting to preserve what we have.”
Asked if he supported declaring a Climate Emergency in Redditch, he replied: “I’m for it”.
Alisha said: “I think it’s brilliant that some councillors are backing us.
“We need to start treating climate change like the crisis it is and act immediately on minimising its impact on our futures.”