Meet the Ipswich student leading the local Climate Strike movement
PUBLISHED: 16:30 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 18:46 13 April 2019
One young protester in Ipswich is blazing a trail as the leader of the town's school strikes to prevent a climate catastrophe.
Thea Pettitt, a 17-year-old student from Northgate High School, is leading Ipswich’s climate change protests.
When she’s not studying physics, modern history and further maths, she is rallying students and other activists to join her to spread the message of the potential climate disaster the planet is facing.
The second climate strike protest took place on the steps of Ipswich Town Hall yesterday, with about 30 protesters with placards, flags and megaphones making themselves heard in the centre of town.
Thea said: “I think it’s in the public consciousness but there’s no sense of urgency.
“When I found out about the strikes I did a lot of research and was shocked to find out how little time we have to save the planet.
“People don’t realise the size of the impact they can have in saving the environment.
“The facts are scary but you have to engage with them and try and make a difference.”
Thea is practising what she preaches and has taken steps to be as eco-friendly as possible: her family use an electric car, she steers clear of cling film and single-use plastic bottles, and she recycles and uses her own bags at the supermarket.
Not only is she trying to make a difference herself, she’s pushing local politicians to make a difference, too, and has spoken to four local councillors to get them voting on green policies.
Since the first protest on March 15 she has also contacted Suffolk County Council’s Richard Rout, cabinet member for environment.
She was spurred into action after reading about the United Nation’s calls to halve global carbon dioxide emissions in 12 years to avoid a climate catastrophe.
Thea went on to organise Ipswich first climate strike against the wishes of her school, which opposed the students leaving classes to protest.
“I sent an email out to the entire school last time, but the school have asked me not to do that again,” added Thea.
“I understand they want their students in school, but this is potentially the biggest problem facing my generation right now and something must be done about it.”