Castle School pupil leads Bristol climate change protest

March 01 2019
Castle School pupil leads Bristol climate change protest

WHEN Zoe Bonnett found out there was no climate change protest planned for Bristol, she decided to organise one herself.

The 14-year-old’s hard work paid off when around 1,000 young people turned up for the ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’ event on College Green on February 15.

The aim of the school strike was to call on the government to make climate change an urgent priority.

Zoe, from Thornbury, said: “My dad showed me a clip of Greta Thunberg talking about her school strike in Sweden. I found it really inspiring and was interested to know if anyone was doing something similar in the UK. I joined a zoom call with others interested in coordinating UK school strikes.”

I set up a Facebook group and an event and linked it to the national group. I then started to make contact with people who might be interested across Bristol, including university groups and other environmental organisations. It was slow to build at first but over the couple of weeks things started to grow.”

Zoe, above second left, had to take a day off school and chose to write personally to Castle School head teacher Peter Smart to explain her decision.

In her letter, she said: “It is important for you to know that striking from school for the climate is not something I am doing lightly.

I enjoy attending school and am aware that my school attainment and attendance can massively affect my future.

However, I think it is important enough to justify missing one or two days of school to do my best to raise awareness of this issue.”

Zoe’s parents supported her decision.

Her mum, Joanna, said: “I was unsure at first but when I saw the passion with which she went about organising the day we were fully behind her decision.

I also believe that engaging in protest is a useful learning experience. Zoe has certainly learnt a lot in coordinating the protest and conveying the message effectively to the media.”