Brent community joins Global Climate Strike rally in solidarity with teen activist Greta Thunberg
PUBLISHED: 12:23 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:53 15 October 2019
Brent’s environmental activists, politicians, trade unionists, students and council staff held a rally in Wembley Park this morning in solidarity with the global climate strike.
More than 70 people gathered outside the Brent Civic Centre as thousands across the UK and many more across the world made their voices heard ahead of the UN Climate Action summit on September 23.
They were answering the call of teenage activist Greta Thunberg for older generations to support young people's campaign of school strikes for urgent action on the climate emergency.
The rally was organised by Brent Friends of the Earth and Divest Brent and supported by Brent Central MP Dawn Butler, council leaders and school students.
Council staff were given half an hour away from their duties if they wished to attend the rally.
Simon Erskine of Divest Brent said: "As Greta Thunberg said 'our house is on fire'. It's a climate emergency. We have got to do everything we can to stop the climate from warming."
He added: "We have known about climate change for some time and the worrying thing is it's all getting worse much faster than we thought it would.
"The Greenland ice sheet which has got enough water to lift sea levels by seven metres is melting much faster than we expected it to melt.
"Forests are burning which puts more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which leads to greater drying of the forests and more fires. It's vicious circle.
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"We have to take action - things are spiralling out of control."
He said he hoped council leaders would follow this action by agreeing to "divest its pension fund from fossil fuel investments and instead invest in renewable energy".
Shadow women and equalities secretary Ms Butler said: "Climate change is about everything we do.
"The little things we do can help offset the bigger things.
"For example, I shop locally most of the time and I walk and take public transport a lot more. But as a politician it is also about the bigger things, the decisions that are made in Parliament."
She added: "It was the Labour Party's motion in the House of Commons which declared an environment and climate emergency, making us the first country in the G7 to pass such a motion."
In July, the council joined more than 100 other local authorities in declaring a climate emergency and pledged to do all in its gift to strive for carbon neutrality by 2030.
The council has introduced a diesel levy on parking permits to incentivise greener transport, created a seven-mile bee corridor to boost biodiversity, and launched a Plastic Free Wembley initiative with local businesses and organisations.
Brent's environment chief Cllr Krupa Sheth told the crowd: "We must do more to address the climate crisis and it is brilliant to see so many people calling for change. The journey to carbon neutral won't be easy, but as a council we have started. What's more, everybody has a part to play. Individual choices do matter and it's important we all think about the things that we buy - the environmental footprint of our food, furniture, and clothes."