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Teenage girls list demands to make Camden’s schools greener

Thirteen-year-old La Sainte Union pupils give nerveless speeches at all-member meeting

11 October, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Hareta Tesfay and Gabrielle Kennedy in the Town Hall chamber

TWO teenage girls stood in front of Camden’s all-member meeting demanding swift changes to make schools greener.

In a nerveless Greta Thunberg-style address, the 13-year-olds from La Sainte Union School made a series of “demands” they want the council to act on.

Gabrielle Kennedy told the chamber on Monday evening: “Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing that us 13 to 14-year-olds are having to have this conversation with you, standing here telling you what to do when it should be the other way around. How is it fair that we have to be worrying about this from the age of 13? How is it fair that we have to miss our lesson time?”

The girls are part of a group called The Sustainers who are joining the climate change protests.

Gabrielle added: “Single-use plastic has taken over the way we think. We buy then throw, even though we know the effect it’s having on our future and our today. We draw the line here – single use plastic has no place in our world especially Camden schools.”


The girls said throwaway plastic needed to be banned in all schools by January. “Our next demand is that we ban meat twice a week in schools from March. Alternatives such as veggie stews, curries and salads should be made avail­able,” said Gabrielle. They also asked for solar panels to power schools.

“The climate crisis has reached a tipping point,” said Hareta Tesfay. “After a few years there will be no going back. We need hands on deck to stop this catastrophe. And schools can help. We have so many steps to take that would make such a big difference. We need change now.”

The girls want to see a ban on single use plastic and meat free days in school canteens

In a final message to the councillors, who all burst into a loud round of applause when they were finished, the two girls pleaded: “We have a climate emer­gency so let’s act like there is a climate emergency. We urge every single person in this room to be ambitious. And please, please don’t let the children down. Think globally, act locally.”

Children from several Camden schools joined the climate strike protests over two days last month.

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