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Parents Rise Up: Climate march inspired by school strikes

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School strike on 15 March. Photo by Extinction Rebellion.

Sheffield parents will march to Town Hall on 12 May to protest against government inaction on the climate crisis.

'Parents Rise Up' is being organised by a new group called Sheffield Green Parents, and is inspired by a series of strikes that have seen hundreds of Sheffield children walk out of school.

"Being parents, we're very concerned about the effects of this climate emergency and what it's going to mean for our children, and what sort of world they're going to grow up in", Zoe Pearson of Sheffield Green Parents told Now Then.

We've got ten outcomes that we want the Council to discuss

"Very worryingly, people are questioning whether the younger generation are going to be the last. It's a huge thing. If there's going to be irreversible climate change we don't know how that's going to impact our society and our current way of life."

Parents Rise Up is part of a national series of marches on the same day called Mothers Rise Up. Pearson explained that they changed the name to make it inclusive of all parents.

Marchers are being encouraged to bring "decorated pushchairs, paintings, banners and placards", and to take part in a "sit down protest picnic" at the Peace Gardens.

The march will start at 11am from Devonshire Green and will end with a rally outside the Town Hall.

"We've got ten outcomes that we want the Council to discuss," said Pearson. "The main one is to make Sheffield carbon neutral by 2030, to ensure that we've got clean air and safe streets for our children."

Labour's manifesto for the upcoming local elections says that they want to see the carbon neutral target "moved to 2030, if not before".

You can't expect children to perform at a high standard when their environment is substandard

Sheffield Green Parents want to see 20mph speed limits on all residential roads, as well as dedicated cycle routes. "The cycle routes on the main roads in Sheffield aren't adequate, and the traffic is very dangerous," Pearson said.

In schools, the group want to see lessons on the climate crisis added to the curriculum and for school meals to adopt a 'planetary health diet', using more local and sustainable ingredients.

The group are also calling for air quality readings in the city to be made public, and for roads outside schools to be closed during pick-up and drop-off times to reduce air pollution and improve safety.

"There's evidence to show that living in a high pollution area is a detriment to children's development and their intelligence, especially at a young age," said Pearson.

"You can't expect children to perform at a high standard when their environment is substandard."

Sheffield Green Parents hold monthly meetings at Unity Yoga Studio on Carver Street, usually on the second Tuesday of the month.

Sam Gregory

Parents Rise Up starts at 11am on 12 May at Devonshire Green.

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