Environment / Climate protestors made good impression

After the Q&A in the Town Hall last Friday. From left to right: SIC leader Steven Coutts, education and families committee chairman George Smith, deputy leader Emma Macdonald, Maggie Sandison, environment and transport chairman Ryan Thomson, march organisers Laura Bisset, Celestine Verdcourt-Lawrence and Isla Johnson. Photo: SIC

YOUNG people who went on ‘strike’ from school last Friday to protest for more action on climate change have been praised by the chairman of Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee for their dedication and knowledge of the issue.

Councillor George Smith said he had been “privileged” to engage with the young folk when they took part in a Q&A session with council officials at Lerwick Town Hall following the protest march.

Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

Speaking at a meeting of the education and families committee on Friday, Smith praised the quality of the march organisers’ presentation, as well as the questions from the floor.

As previously reported, the three organisers who go under the name of Eco Youth Shetland – teenagers Celestine Verdcourt-Lawrence, Laura Bisset and Isla Johnson – have been invited to present their case to the committee in September.

Smith suggested the council could look more closely at reducing plastic usage, although the issue of schoolchildren at the Anderson High School seemingly littering may need to be discussed too.


He also reiterated a commitment to keep an agenda item reserved at every education and families committee meeting for youths to have their say, adding that “we owe it to our young folk”.

“The onus is on them to come,” Smith continued. “We will work with youth services to make that happen.”

Around 150 people were said to have engaged in the Town Hall debate on the environment last Friday.

Smith was joined by chief executive Maggie Sandison and fellow councillors Steven Coutts, Ryan Thomson and Emma Macdonald in answering questions.

School staff were advised to give an authorised absence to anyone who wished to take part in the march, which travelled from the Anderson High School to the Town Hall.