‘The children have done their bit, now it’s our turn’ – parents to protest over air pollution in Sheffield​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Parents planning to march through Sheffield in protest over air pollution say they owe it to their children to speak out.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, 4:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 3:56 pm

Next month’s ‘Parents Rise Up’ rally will be the latest in a series of demonstrations within the city demanding action to clean up our air and curb climate change.

Campaigners from Extinction Rebellion Sheffield recently blocked traffic outside Sheffield station, before joining mass protests in London, and hundreds of children have skipped classes to make themselves heard in a wave of school strikes.

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Zoe Pearson, of Sheffield Green Parents, with her three-year-old son Toby

Sheffield Green Parents are now adding their voices to the growing calls for action to be taken before it is too late for our planet.

They have invited mums and dads from across the city to join them as they march from Devonshire Green to the Town Hall, before staging a sit-down protest picnic in the Peace Gardens, on Sunday, May 12.

“The children of our city have taken to the streets in protest. Now it’s our turn to help bring volume to their voices,” states the group’s event page.

Zoe Pearson and her three-year-old son Toby will be among those taking to the streets that day.

“I feel I need to do something because if we carry on like we are my son’s not going to have a healthy world to live in,” said the 37-year-old, who lives in Meersbrook and works at the Unwrapped zero-waste shop in Crookes.

“We’ve got 11 years in which to cut global emissions by half or face catastrophic consequences, so we need as many people as possible telling those in power that this is the biggest issue facing humankind.

“We can start in Sheffield by reducing emissions, especially around schools, where too many children are breathing in air with illegally high levels of pollutants.”

Sheffield Green Parents want international action over climate change but the group has a list of key demands for local measures by Sheffield Council.

Those include making the city carbon neutral by 2030, 20 years earlier than the council’s existing target of 2050; making all air quality recordings public and easily accessible; fining drivers caught idling anywhere in the city; closing roads outside schools at pick-up and drop-off times; and introducing a 20mph speed limit on all residential roads.

They also want all schools to adopt a ‘planetary health diet’, ensuring the food they serve is sourced as sustainably as possible; and for climate change and wildlife conservation to be made compulsory subjects so children know how to look after the earth.

The Parents Rise Up protest march will depart from Devonshire Green on Sunday, May 12, from 11am.