Families march through Sheffield city centre in protest against climate change and air pollution

Hundreds of parents, children and supporters marched through the city centre today as part of a protest against climate change and air pollution.

Sunday, 12th May 2019, 7:03 pm

The family-friendly demonstration was organised by Sheffield Green Parents, who said it was ‘their turn to help bring volume to the voices’ of the hundreds of children who marched out of school in February and March in protest at the mounting ecological crisis.

As the peaceful protest left Devonshire Green and proceeded down Division Street, scores of people chanted ‘save our planet,’ and urged others to heed their rallying call.

Many of those taking part brought along home-made placards and banners bearing slogans such as ‘act today for our tomorrow’; ‘clean air for our kids’ and ‘save our planet’.

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Many of those taking part brought along home-made placards and banners

Rachael Smith is one of the protest organisers, and brought her 18-month-old daughter, Pearl, along to take part.

She described air-pollution and climate change as one of the ‘biggest threats’ to the lives of the next generation.

“When you become a parent you have this desperate need to protect your children, and if something or someone is threatening to ruin their life you do everything within your power to do something to protect them.

“And climate change and air pollution is one of the biggest threats to the lives of our children, which is why I’m not surprised so many parents turned out for this. But it has exceeded my expectations,” said Rachael.

Hundreds of parents, children and families marched through Sheffield city centre today as part of a protest against climate change and air pollution

Seven-year-old Mabel Parkin attended the protest with her mum, Anna, and little sister, Myrtle, aged 11 months.

“I’m here because I want to save the planet,” said Mabel.

She added: “When I watched a programme [about climate change] it made me worried that people weren’t going to do anything about it, so I wanted to do something.

“I took some posters and a letter into school saying please help the environment by recycling and reducing.”

Anna Parkin with daughters Mabel, 7, and Myrtle, 11 months

Mabel’s mum, Anna, also helped to organise the protest, and said she was overwhelmed to see an event that began with five people develop into something that resonated with hundreds of parents, children and supporters.

She said: “We have to take responsibility, we have to act sooner rather than later, and we have to act now for the good of our children.”

Annie Russell said the protest was organised with families in mind, adding that she, and her fellow members of Sheffield Green Parents, try to make the group as accessible as possible to parents by holding meetings in the day and child-friendly venues.

“I didn’t feel like there was another protest group that really represented the needs of parents, so that’s where the idea came from,” said Annie, adding: “Having a young children, a particular area of concern is air pollution and climate change.”

Rachael Smith with her 18-month-old daughter, Pearl

The protest ended with a family picnic in the Peace Gardens and those in attendance got to enjoy entertainment from a live samba band.