Cancelled school strike for climate to go online
This morning’s planned school strike for climate has been called off after fears that gathering large groups of people together could help to spread the coronavirus.
The strike has been planned to start at 9.45am today with children from more than 30 schools to protest the state of the River Cam. Now they plan to continue their strike online and have provided details of where students can log on to protest.
They were striking over concerns that the river had become “canalised” and was suffering extremely low water levels due to the over abstraction of water from the region’s chalk hills that was being drawn out for domestic use.
The Cambridge Schools Eco Council had told the Cambridge Independent “Now, the river Cam is at 77 per cent less than its long-term average flow for the last year, according to the Environment Agency. This is primarily due to over-abstraction of water from the chalk hills for domestic use. Our tap water mostly comes from the eastern chalk aquifer and we don’t have another source of water. The Cam may seem like it is completely fine and healthy but it is far from it. This is an illusion from how canalised the river is.”
However, a message from Nico Roman, co-chair of Cambridge Schools Eco-Council and Youth4ClimateStrike Committee, said: “The March 13 climate strike is suspended for (Friday) to keep all our friends and students as safe as possible, now that WHO has declared a global pandemic for COVID-19.
Like Greta, we will keep trying to be heard to save our waterways and to stop climate change!
We are not giving up. We are moving our strike online for now instead. All Cambridge students and others who care, please still gather for 5 mins in your schools, or with friends, or even alone, with your sign or message, take a photo, and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will include you in a big artwork poster of photos from all school ecoclubs and friends across Cambridge, which goes out worldwide, so your voice is still heard to stop climate change, and protect the River Cam!”
Cambridge’s school strikers’ March protest on Friday is set to highlight threats to local water supplies and to the river Cam and which it says has become “canalised”.
More than 30 schools from Cambridge and surrounds will start at Shire Hall at 9.45am and head for an 11am gathering in Bridge Street “to demand that this issue gets brought to the light and the Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and water companies do something about it instead of waiting for an unlikely amount of rain”.
The Cambridge Schools Eco Council said: “Now, the river Cam is at 77 per cent less than its long-term average flow for the last year, according to the Environment Agency. This is primarily due to over-abstraction of water from the chalk hills for domestic use. Our tap water mostly comes from the eastern chalk aquifer and we don’t have another source of water. The Cam may seem like it is completely fine and healthy but it is far from it. This is an illusion from how canalised the river is.”
The “illusion” that the Cam remains unaffected by removal of water for the chalk aquifer underneath the region has been perpetuated by “putting water back into the headwaters of the streams in the summer to keep those streams running, because they have taken so much water out of the chalk”, according to Stephen Tomkins, who chairs the Cam Valley Forum environmental group, who aded that adding up to 20 per cent of the water abstracted is subsequently returned into the headwaters during the summer months.