FOUR youngsters have penned a letter to the Prime Minister asking him to pay attention to climate change during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nine-year-old Una Clay-Wallers, along with her friends Leah Pierce (11) Freya Villiars Stuart (10) and Grace Kerr (11) contacted the Prime Minister after becoming concerned that climate change was taking something of a back seat due to the global crisis.

Climate change is something the girls are all passionate about.

Una said: "During lockdown, my friends and I started to get worried about the fact that our government might be ignoring the massive issue of Climate Change even more than normal, because of the urgent crisis of this pandemic.

"So we arranged among ourselves to get together and have some Zoom meetings, and over a few sessions wrote a collective letter to Boris Johnson asking him to please pay attention to Climate Change.

"We have done all the research and written the letter by ourselves, without our teachers and parents - this is something we are passionate about."

In the letter, Freya calls for more tree planting across the UK, while Grace asks for a law to protect the oceans from plastic.

Leah discusses air pollution, while Una suggests ways the public can reduce their carbon footprint through their eating habits.

Una's mum, Holly Clay, spoke about her pride in her daughter and her friends.

She said: "The letter is just great. They've done it completely off their own back.

"They've been very inspired by Great Thunberg. They feel aware that it's their future, and they're quite annoyed with adults!

"We live in an environmentally way and they really got involved in the school strikes in Hexham last year.

"They're all little Zoom whizzes now - it's brilliant, a very good project."

The full letter can be read below;


To Boris Johnson,
We are 4 friends living in Northumberland who feel very concerned about climate change and the environment. We have all written below about topics we’d like to see addressed urgently.

Leah Pierce

I am writing to you about climate change. I believe it’s the most important world problem. I’m worried that people aren’t thinking about climate change because it’s not affecting their everyday lives.
We are aware that you will be concentrating on corona virus a lot because it is affecting the whole world but climate change is still extremely important. Probably more important than covid-19.
I am sure that you are aware that during lock down the air in big, polluted cities and towns is the cleanest that is has ever been in recent history. It is important that we keep this up.
After lockdown of course people will need to get out and about again, but I hope that we can take advantage of some of the lessons that we’ve learned during lockdown – such as working from home, shopping locally and cycling more. Please could you encourage people to make this happen.
I am sure you have heard of Greta Thunberg and I would like you to watch as many of her videos as you can. I hope that Greta’s message inspires you to realise how incredibly important this world problem is. Greta is a massive inspiration to all of us and our families.
Around my home in Ninebanks, Allendale, I have appreciated seeing more deer and birds. I’ve also enjoyed the quieter and safer roads – we’ve been cycling more as a family.
Remember how polluted our country was before lockdown. If we don’t keep this up then we will all suffer the consequences. You are our leader. Please take action now!

Freya Villers-Stuart

Dear Boris Johnson, I am worried about deforestation. I’ve been doing some research about trees and how important they are to the environment. I found out that trees suck carbon dioxide out of the air and lock it away. This makes the air much cleaner for me and other children across the UK to breathe.
I’m lucky to live in Northumberland, a county that has been planting more trees than other areas of England. However, even here in Northumberland we need to do more.
It would help if the government passed laws to make industries producing a lot of carbon dioxide off-set that carbon. Funds from this scheme could be used to pay into the farming and forestry sector and enable a lot more tree planting in UK woodlands.
Another thing your government could do is encourage or pass laws to make our furniture and house building industries use UK timber rather than other environmentally damaging materials. This would mean that the value and demand for UK timber would rise resulting in more trees being planted and more quality timber being produced.
Currently, farmland per acre is worth 30% more than woodland per acre, this means that land owners are not being incentivised to convert farmland into woodland. If the government reduced subsidies for farming and increased them for woodland, it would result in more trees planted.
There is a delicate balance to be struck here. Farmers and woodland managers are going to have to work together and understand each other’s jobs and roles so that we can all get the best from the land. I hope your government will support them to achieve this important work.

Grace Kerr

If it wasn’t for healthy oceans, planet earth would already be too hot to inhabit. Phytoplankton consumes a huge amount of CO2 from the atmosphere which through the food chain ends up at the bottom of the sea safely out of the atmosphere.
The ocean waters themselves absorb CO2 which makes them more acidic. The ocean can’t carry on like this any more. It has reached its limit.
The CO2 in the ocean is increasing the acidity of sea water, so that small sea creatures are becoming unable to form their shells.
Rising sea temperatures are bleaching coral and disrupting habitats, and rising sea waters are also disruptive as habitats get darker when the sea level rises.
The ocean is so important for the health of the whole world. The effects of climate change would be bad enough but on top of this we have other problems like plastic pollution in the sea. There are 5.3 trillion pieces of plastic afloat in our oceans.
There are five giant garbage whirlpools in the oceans called ‘the five gyres’, one is as big as Texas. If things stay like this by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. Most sea birds are eating plastics
and many are being found dead or sick with their bodies full of plastic they have eaten. Micro plastics carry toxins which effect all animals in the food chain, including humans who eat the fish.
We need to protect the oceans. We should have a law that protects the oceans.

Una Clay-Wallers

Climate Change is REAL and it is a problem. Climate Change is a massive problem. It is like dropping your laptop and then it breaking, it can never be the same again; except if you FIX it! So it's the same with Climate Change – we've messed up A LOT but we can fix it. You need to help too because you are our Prime Minister. You are our leader.
The way that we grow and buy food is one of the big problems. We need to stop buying food from other countries and buy it locally – like more people have been doing during this coronavirus crisis.
As well as buying it locally, we need to buy it seasonally. Buying seasonally means, for example, buying strawberries in the Summer instead of the Winter, and pumpkins in the Autumn instead of the Spring! That way, less food is flown around the world. Our families are trying to do that, so everyone needs to do that too.
We can't just sit here hoping, we have to take ACTION.
Here are a few ideas of how to buy food locally, seasonally and in an environmentally friendly way:
• Use our local Co-op and supermarkets; drive less.
• Eat food that is grown in your country or even your garden.
• Think about what you are buying before you buy it.
• Try not to buy things that are wrapped in non-recyclable plastic.
• There are such things called Eco-bricks, which are pop bottles containing 600g of non-recyclable plastic. When they weigh 600g then they are labelled as a building material.
• Buy organic food.
• Grow fruit and vegetables if you have the right climate and environment.
• Cheap food is more often wrapped in plastic, and grown and produced in a way that is damaging to the environment. We know that lots of us don't have a lot of money but, perhaps the government could help educate everyone about what to use their money with.
Climate Change matters and you have a big part to play in helping everyone to wake up to the ways that
Climate Change is affecting our planet. Please pluck up the courage to take action.
Yours sincerely
Leah Pierce (aged 11),
Freya Villiars Stuart (aged 10),
Grace Kerr (aged 11)
and Una Clay Wallers (aged 9).