Pupils from St Gregory the Great Catholic School attended a mass lobby of parliament to call for action on climate change with CAFOD.

Along with thousands of other supporters, they converged on Westminster on Wednesday 26th June to meet with their MPs and demand an urgent response to the environmental climate crisis.

Trip leader Fran Walsh said “We have been overwhelmed with the passion our students have for the environment and climate crisis.  We think it is important that their voice is heard and that we, as a school, offer them opportunities to grow in political awareness and their sense of personal responsibility for what Pope Francis calls ‘our common home’.

Students have been exposed to the realities of climate change through the curriculum and the media and are now wanting to act in ways to effect change in our world locally, nationally and internationally for some of the most vulnerable people in our world.

Students joined the lobby line on the South bank in the South East region and met their local MP Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East) with others of her Constituency.  One student said “It was really good to meet her!  I asked her to reassure us, the young people in her constituency, that those with power were doing what they could to resolve the climate crisis.  She believes that one of the main ways we would be achieve was to consider the environmental impact of each decision that is make in Parliament”.

An accompanying member of staff Mopsa English, an experienced protester, said “Our students’ enthusiasm and commitment was a pleasure to see.  They felt empowered by the presents of thousands of other who share their concerns and their sense and understanding of the message – The Time Is Now - was reinforced by this occasion “.

Students invited members of the Lobby to sign their banner; throughout the day they collected many hundreds of signatures including that of Alan Whitehead MP for Southampton Labour Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change. Accompanying Teacher Mr George said “Our students were ready, respectful and safe throughout the day and made friends wherever they went. In just half an hour they managed to get more than 200 signatures on the banner they had made including that of the Labour Party's Minister responsible for Climate Change policy. Thank you to everyone involved, thank you to CAFOD for massively subsidising our journey; it was a great day, let's hope and pray that the government listens to the youth of today”.

Monica Conmee, CAFOD’s Head of Education said “It’s inspiring to see so many young people taking action on climate change.  Young people understand the urgent need for MP to take action now and they’ve been asking for our government to go further, faster in order to reach net zero by 2045.  Climate change is already having an impact on some of the poorest communities in the world and some of CAFOD’s international staff have been sharing that experience with the young people who were lobbying their MPs today”

One Year 10 Student said “at 2pm, everyone set off alarms, rang bells, blew whistles and make lots of noise to send a message to the Government, that it is time to ‘wake up’ and make a change towards reducing climate change.  This was a crucial part of the day, everyone joined together and became one voice to try and make a change.  This showed great power and made me feel confident in my ability to make a difference”.

The Government will be making important decisions about how to implement their new zero emissions target and legislation for stronger environmental laws later in the year.

We hope very much for our school to continue to be an active part of the change going forward.  

Mr Sean Tucker Head Teacher said “Our young people often show great courage in their convocation, no less so, in their drive for change in the way we use our precious resources.  Long may this continue as we seek to provide a secure environment for the future”.