School children strike to save South Uist

The children have also been taking part in art classes at Taigh Chearsabagh, where they made banners and posters to support their climate change message.
The children have also been taking part in art classes at Taigh Chearsabagh, where they made banners and posters to support their climate change message.

Led by 11-year-old Méabh Mackenzie, Daliburgh School pupils are striking tomorrow (Friday) to raise awareness of climate change to help save their Island of South Uist and stand in solidarity with island communities across the globe.

Méabh, who attends Daliburgh Primary and has mobilised a group of school friends to join the strike, said: “I am doing this because I feel that governments are ignoring what will happen to our planet if we don’t slow down global warming.

“South Uist where I live is very low lying and it wouldn’t take much for it to disappear under the waves.

“I love this island and I will do anything at all so my children, my grandchildren and maybe even my great grandchildren see how lovely this place actually is!

“We, the future generation, are now going to tidy up the mess and we will not stop till it’s done.

“Rising sea levels will have a catastrophic affect where I live in the Western Isles and other island communities all across the world.

“In 12 years we can’t turn anything back and we and our planet will face the horrors of climate change.

“We need governments and lawmakers to act now while we still have time and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will help calm and slow down rising sea levels.

“We need our government to monitor our coastal erosions and for these Islands especially to build better flood defences.”

Kathleen MacInnes - Gaelic Scottish singer, television presenter and actress, said of the action being taken by the South Uist schoolchildren, said: “When I heard the news that Méabh MacKenzie, her sisters and friends are to be striking for a safe climate and better flood defences in the Western Isles on Friday I thought, what fantastic models of inspiration and positive action they are.

“They believe that they and the future generations deserve better than the consequences of politicians’ inaction on rising sea levels in the Western Isles.

“Sometimes it takes the voice of a local child to wake people up and shake up the complacency and lethargy we are all guilty of when it comes to awareness and action to protect our islands.”

Julie Fowlis, renowned Scottish Gaelic singer who featured on the Brave soundtrack, added: “I support the students in Uist on their global student strike for climate change. There is nowhere I see the threat of climate change greater than in Uist.”

And Kerry and Kirsty Macphee – Scottish mountain biking champions from South Uist, also were impressed by the action being taken by Méabh and her friends, they said: “This sounds like a fantastic initiative and it’s wonderful to hear young people seriously considering the impact climate change could have on our very fragile ecology, landscape and beautiful islands.

“We are both extremely proud to come from the islands and we are both 100% behind Méabh and her fellow pupils’ climate change strike.”