GERRY Dunphy gets straight to the point. The adult generation should be doing more to stop climate change – a lot more!

“By the time our generation can do anything, it will be too late,” he said. “So we have to try to convince people to act now.”

Gerry and three other Hexham pupils, who between them cover the first, middle and high school age brackets, came into the Hexham Courant to talk about their motivations for taking part in this year’s round of ‘school strikes for climate’.

Now an international movement in which students leave school for the day to take part in demonstrations against global warming, it all began with teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

Last August, she stood outside the Swedish Riksdag (parliament), holding a sign that read “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (school strike for the climate).

Gerry and his friend Frieda Hill-Blaske, both 12, attended a gathering at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle during one such strike, and Frieda, Pia Ponsford (9) and Gabriel Marshall (14) attended the one that took place at Hexham Bandstand recently. Gerry was ill on that occasion.

He said: “I think the appeal of the school strikes is that it is bigger than just a group of people getting together, because it seems like a rebellion against the older generation.

“The people in charge are not doing enough and these strikes are a direct message telling them that.”

Frieda and Gerry also took part in the ‘Dippy die-in’ event organised by Extinction Rebellion at the Great North Museum in Newcastle last month.

Participants dressed as animals and then played dead next to Dippy, the replica of the Diplodocus skeleton currently on tour from London’s Natural History Museum.

The reason, to highlight the fact so many species are now at risk, environmentalists say we are undergoing the sixth mass extinction.

Pia said: “Animals are dying out already, but we’re not noticing it really. People think about polar bears, but they don’t think about the insects all around us.

“People are ignoring the problem. They are scared of the fact it is happening, but they have been denying it for so long, nothing much has been done about it.”

Climate change, in the end, will affect everyone, rich or poor, Gabriel observed, so everyone needed to pull together.

“It can’t be every man for himself,” he said.

All of them had suggestions on where the adults around them could start.

Gabriel said: “People jump in the car each morning rather than getting on a bus or train. They need to set the example.”

Adults also needed to change to electric cars, repair rather than replace and, actually, if they were made to pay the full cost of recycling their own rubbish, that would make them think twice, he said.

Also, he’d like to see adults leaving their offices and joining in with the strikes. The more the better.

Frieda said: “Ban single use plastics – straight away. You can do your shopping without picking up single-use plastics. People just have to get used to doing that.”

Gerry quoted the example of a woman featured in a Goodful video – an Internet company that writes about all the elements that go into a healthier, happier life – who could fit all the rubbish she’d produced in five years into a single jar.

“She said it wasn’t even that hard,” said Gerry.

“She just went to health food shops and the like to buy stuff that wasn’t in Styrofoam and plastic packaging.”

That was the annoying thing about much of our packaged fruit, Frieda and Gerry said. Today we wrapped stuff that already had its own skin.

Frieda added: “And people could buy less meat. Buy vegetarian options, even if it’s just sometimes. My mum generally buys vegan stuff now.”

Gabriel acknowledges some of the options they have suggested can be expensive. “These things need to be made affordable for everyone,” he said.

“But if the Government helped fund some of the solutions, everybody could join in.”