On Friday 20 September, the student group Matlock4Climate organised their fifth school strike as part of the growing movement FridaysForFuture, started by Swedish student and climate activist, Greta Thunberg. A crowd of more than 250 protestors gathered at Crown Square in Matlock with at least four million people joining protests worldwide, to call for governments to take action to tackle the climate crisis.
Since March, the group have been organising monthly demonstrations in Matlock. Following this, Matlock Town Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council declared a climate emergency and began to form action groups to reduce the area's carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
One of the organisers, Max James, 14, said: “We strike in solidarity with students across the world to raise awareness of the climate breakdown with the general public, and to get local and national governments to make change. Immediate action must be taken to protect our future.”
The demonstration consisted of inspiring and passionate speeches from students, parents, councillors and local activists. Nationally, the slogan for this month's strike was 'tick-tock' which symbolised the need for people to 'wake up' to the crisis because we are 'running out of time' to solve the problems faced.
Protestors held a 'die-in' in County Hall which lasted for 11 minutes – to represent the 11 years that scientists say we have left, if we carry on as we are, until irreversible damage has been done to the planet. The students also lead a march around the town, during which chants such as “there is no planet B” and “show some urgency, it's a climate emergency” were used.
“People don't realise how urgent this situation is. We are already seeing the impact of climate change here in Derbyshire," said organiser, Emily Bush, 18.
“Extreme rain caused serious damage to the dam at Whaley Bridge, causing 1500 people to be evacuated. There have been countless wildfires on Derbyshire moorlands. Think of the prolonged heatwaves we had this summer which caused deaths across Europe. Events like these will become more and more frequent and damaging if we don't take action now. To be honest, I'm terrified.”
The group say they will continue to protest until significant changes have been made to tackle the crisis and they feel confident that their futures and the future of the planet are no longer in jeopardy.
Matlock4Climate is a group made up of Highfields students, aged 13-18, who have been leading monthly demonstrations in Matlock since March to call for climate action.