We need to support young people’s ‘global rebellion’ against climate breakdown, says top environmentalist

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Jonathan Porritt speaking at last night’s event in Belfast

By Una Murphy

ENVIRONMENTALIST Jonathan Porritt has backed young people’s “global rebellion” against climate breakdown. He told 550 people in Belfast that he was “100 percent” behind the Extinction Rebellion campaign and said young people must be supported in their protests.

A global strike is planned on September 20 and workers as well as students have been urged to take to the streets to demonstrate about the climate emergency.

“We need the support and the enthusiasm of young people,” he said. “The rebellion for the future of life on earth is a very important.” He warned: “Everything is getting worse, much faster, everywhere.”

He told the audience at the Clayton Hotel, which included, politicians, academics, business people and campaigners that “the truth about climate change is so much worse than anyone can actually believe”.

Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor Peter McReynolds who also spoke at last night’s event

Governments state that there will be 10 to 12 years to solve the climate emergency but frontline scientists in the Arctic, Antarctica, Amazon rainforest and the Himalayas believe that “we don’t have 10 to 12 years – it is a far shorter period,” he said. “The truth is terrifying.”

Employing a solutions agenda in the next five to 10 years could mean “it may not be too late” to deal with climate breakdown. “Poor quality political discourse” was stifling discussion on the issue which left “most people still trying to get their heads around it; these are the vast majority of the people of the planet”, he said.

Jonathan Porritt’s challenge to the audience was to “narrow that gap” been the climate change community and the rest of the world.

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