Students At U2's Old School Send Powerful Message To World Leaders

The Irish government might not be rising to meet the challenges of climate change but that doesn't mean the Irish don't care. Far from it and it is young people in particular who are leading the charge when it comes to climate activism.

Over the past few weeks myself and my colleagues at peace and justice group Afri have been privileged to work with Irish teenagers who aren't prepared to sit back when their leaders fail them. Among these are Transition Year students at Mount Temple Comprehensive, U2's old school.

As part of their campaigning efforts the students, who are between 15 and 16 years old, have created a powerful short video that they hope will help inspire action and awareness.

In the video, which is less than five minutes long, the students issue an emotional appeal for political leaders to take urgent and radical action on global warming. It features graphic images of climate disasters to the backdrop of 'bid for a better planet', a song written by students Louis Butler Lynch and Éanna Ó Suibhne and performed by their classmates.

"We care about our planet but we don't feel like you do." says one of the students in the video. "If they keep going like they're going I won't get to see the same world as older generations have" declares another.

According to 16 year old Keziah Keenan O'Shea, the video is a way for the students to express their concerns and demand action.

"Working on this video project helped me realie that world leaders meeting in Paris hold the future in their hands. Our planet is being destroyed and I realise that one voice may not be heard, but when we speak collectively we can make a difference. We need world leaders to open their eyes to the devastating effects of climate change. They need to make choices that favour people over profit, and consider the long term consequences rather than short term gains. We want them to make decisions that benefit everyone, not just the rich and the powerful. They have a responsibility to leave our world habitable for future generations."

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Ruairí McKiernan is a social campaigner, Fulbright scholar, and a member of Ireland's Council of State. His website is www.ruairimckiernan.com and he is on Twitter @ruairimckiernan