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Climate protesters gather in hundreds as councillors fail to show

Stirling's biggest climate change protest yet saw locals and students of all ages band together for the cause.

Around 350 protesters gathered outside the Stirling Council offices this morning in a bid to enforce action on climate change, as part of the global climate strike.

As temperatures soared higher than anyone would expect of a September morning, protesters chanted and called for Stirling Council to declare a climate emergency.

However, those in attendance were quickly disappointed when they discovered that in the first hour and a half of the protests, not a single councillor had turned up to answer to their constituents.

The protest was organised by third-year English studies student, Shaun Berge-Donald, who is a member of Extinction Rebellion Stirling.

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Local politicians have come under scrutiny. Credit: Sam Ormiston

Speaking to the crowd, he said: “I am no scientist – I am but a student.

“Our councillors are not acting in the best interests of their constituents. They are not taking the climate crisis seriously.

“Not acknowledging the concerns of your constitutents will have a negative impact on the people that you are supposed to govern.

“Why is Stirling Council slogging behind the likes of councils in Edinburgh and Glasgow Highlands and Renfrewshire, who have already declared a climate emergency?

“Our collective house is heating up and we are going to notice it, one record breaking summer at a time.”

When Shaun announced that there were no councillors present to hear the concerns of residents, an onlooker shouted: “Speak to us and tell us why you won’t declare a climate emergency.”

Fiona Denvir, an environmental geography and outdoor education student, skipped class today to protest.

Her sign read, “Kerr about your planet” in reference to the local MP’s voting records when it comes to the climate crisis.

In 2018, Kerr voted against offering financial incentives for low carbon emmission electricity generation methods.

And in June of this year, he voted to exclude wind and water turbines from a special reduced rate of VAT applying to the supply and installation of energy-saving materials in residential accommodation.

Fiona added: “I received permission from my lecturer to miss my lecture today.”

As well as students, members of the public, and students from local high schools and primary schools were in attendance.

One primary school aged-child said: “There’s no planet B.”

Another added: “I’m not in school because the next sixty years are more important than the next six hours.”

Once youngster stepped up to the megaphone. She said: “The president of the United States has said that climate change is not real, but that is fake news!” to cheers from the crowd of protesters.

And University of Stirling politics lecturer, Emily St.Denny, stood with her husband Franz and daughter Clara.

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Emily St Denny, pictured with Franz Bernhardt and daughter Clara. Credit: Sam Ormiston

She told us: “We are here today because we are freaked out about the climate crisis, and we want our daughter to have the same opportunities as we have had.”

Stephen Kerr MP failed to turn up to the protests to hear the worries of constituents. A spokesperson said that he was otherwise engaged, but claimed she could not tell us what he was doing.

As of an hour and a half into the protest at 12.30 p.m, none of the councillors had turned up to the protest to hear their constituents.

Featured image: Students Felix Nothdurft, Linda Holzinger, Leigha Ashworth and Rebecca Sharp. Credit: Sam Ormiston

 

 

 

 

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