CORK City was brought to a standstill yesterday afternoon when thousands of students marched through the streets for climate change.
An initiative started by teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg yesterday took over Cork, as young people marched from Emmet Place, through on to Patrick Street and finally making their way to City Hall.
It’s estimated that around 5,000 students were in attendance as they voiced their concerns over the future of the planet, expressing themselves with everything from creative placards to banners and drums.
Once the march ended at City Hall, the students demanded the attention of those inside the building with chants calling for changes to be made now. Signs were held aloft reading “change the policies, not the climate”, and the famous phrase behind the movement, “there is no planet B” to name a few.
One of the students who took part in the march, Sarah, who attends Scoil Mhuire in Cork, drew attention to the fact that houses need to be built with more focus on using renewable sources to power them.
“We need to make sure that we’re using renewable energies,” she said. “Houses are still being built with chimney fires and it’s just not going to be feasible in our climate. so we need to start building houses and I think they’ve started already in various places across Cork building houses without chimneys, using purely renewable sources to generate electricity and have heating that.”
While the crowd was dominated by teenagers who go to school in and around Cork, students came from all over the country to take part in the march. Speaking to The Echo, Isabelle and Órla from Lismore, Co. Waterford shared their views on what changes could be made to help protect the environment.
Isabelle, a student at Blackwater Community School in Lismore said: “I definitely think traffic [is something we could start with], with lorries going through small towns and there are ring roads not used and it just adds so much congestion and increases fumes in the air. I know in Europe they don’t allow the bigger lorries in and around the smaller towns, they make them take another road and they block them out of the small towns and it leads to a decrease in the use of fossil fuels.”
Also attending Blackwater Community School, Órla said: “I think companies should move to a more renewable energy approach and try and reduce the amount of waste they’re producing.
“For example, food packaging, a lot of it is so unnecessary. I think it needs to come from big corporations rather than the small ones, as they’re the ones that drive it and they’ve got all the money.
“If we start developing with wind energy and solar energy, it would be really easy for us to keep going since we’re an island, so we’ve so much wind. I think it would work really well it’s just a matter of people pushing it and not being afraid of the loss of money.
“It’s for a good cause, it’s important, it needs to happen.”