Cornish students taking part in strike action over a lack of action on climate change have described yesterday’s day of protest as “inspiring.”

Hundreds of students from all over Cornwall took part in Youth Strike 4 Climate at Truro’s County Hall, from the west of the county right up to the north, from primary schools, secondary schools, sixth forms and universities.

They were joining a day of youth action that saw students in more than 60 towns and cities walk out of school to raise awareness of the UK Student Climate Network’s demands for the government to declare a "climate emergency", inform the public about the seriousness of the situation, reform the national curriculum to include "the ecological crisis" and lower the voting age to 16 to all younger people to help make decisions about environmental issues.

In Truro, students chanted and lined the road past County Hall with placards bearing slogans such as “Climate change is not cool” and “There is no planet B” – with many passing motorists honking their horns in support.

Richard Lander School student Blaise Hinshelwood was among those taking part in yesterday’s protest.

The year 11 student, who had the full backing of his mum at the event, said: “It was brilliant – there were so many people there. It was really great to see so many like-minded students that want to help the case. It was inspiring.”

He estimated that around 50 students from years nine to 11 at his school alone took part in the protest.

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Blaise Hinshelwood (left) at the protest.

Explaining his reasons for getting involved, he added: “It is the biggest problem we face today. It’s not really spoken about in politics, it’s often a side note; when I watch the news or a talk show I fell like it’s a supplement on the side, rather than it being main point. It’s always Brexit orientated.

“We really need to raise awareness for politicians that this is what everyone needs to sort out.”

The 16-year-old was an early supporter of action and initially wanted to strike last year, but was threatened with sanctions.

Since then, however, he said the school had become fully on board and gave its backing to the students involved in yesterday’s protest.

Cornwall councillor Sue James, cabinet member for the environment and public protection, stepped outside to speak to the students at one stage – although Blaise felt she “passed the buck” on a couple of questions, including one about why there were not more recycling bins in schools.

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Councillor Sue James speaking to students. Photo: Lucinda Mae Parfett

“She said in school it’s the students that have to drive it, to pass the buck – it’s the students to have to pioneer it,” he explained.

He went on to add: “She said she would put more pressure on Cornwall’s businesses to more eco-friendly, but she didn’t say how.”

Despite this, he felt that the event had been extremely positive and stressed the fight was not against Cornwall Council.

“To be fair, Cornwall Council are not the opposition. They have declared a state of climate emergency. I think it’s important that we work with them, not oppose them,” he said.

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Students carried placards at the protest. Photo: Lucinda Mae Parfett

The day of action was part of a wider global movement called Schools 4 Climate Action, which has steadily grown since 15-year-old Greta Thunberg first walked out of school in Sweden last August, demanding her government reduce carbon emissions as per the Paris Agreement.

She has continued her strike action every Friday since, which has gained worldwide attention, and has addressed United Nations Climate Change Conference and the World Economic Forum.

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Students from all over Cornwall took part. Photo: Lucinda Mae Parfett