Thousands of young climate change activists in at least 112 countries bunked off school on 15 March 2019 in what was billed as the biggest environmental protest in history.
Three siblings from Harrogate attended the Leeds protest, with support from their parents – Florence Sharman (9yrs old; Grove Road School) attended with her brother Charlie Sharman (12 yrs old; Rossett High School) and younger sister Beatrice (6yrs old; Grove Road School)
Parents Kathryn and Greig Sharman said that they informed their schools with the reasons why they wanted to take them out of school for the day. Their teachers were positive and supportive of the action.
Florence wrote the speech all by herself the previous evening and created the placards with her siblings.
She was one of a small number of speakers to address the large crowd, estimated as over 2000 and including a professor from the University of Leeds and local Leeds MP Alex Sobel.
There were three rallies held in Yorkshire – Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield as well as around the UK and the world.
Greig Sharman said:
We were particularly keen to support the kids as we believe that education doesn’t just happen in the class room, and that sometimes there are principles and ideas that we need to fight for.
Young people need to feel that they can make a difference and that their voices can be heard.
I feel sad that some people don’t want to help the environment or are making it worse.
It felt good to be a part of the strike and I felt I was making a difference.
I felt mixed emotions – nervous, happy and proud, for what I was doing.