'Make the world a better place to live': Meet the children marching for climate action at COP26

ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith reports on the environmental demands young people are calling on world leaders to commit to at the COP26 summit in Glasgow

The average age of the world leaders meeting at the COP26 climate conference is well over 60 years old. But at a protest march on the streets of Glasgow today, the average age was much younger.

Thousands of children and teenagers are marching in protest at what they call inaction from governments on climate change.

The children - who are marching alongside campaigner Greta Thunberg - are calling for world leaders to act now to prevent a climate emergency.

The Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi today urged children not to miss school to protest.

But the children marching today say governments must protect the planet, to protect their futures.

ITV News spoke to some of the young people at the protest.

Orla says governments have the power to act on climate change - and must act now.


Orla is protesting with a group of friends. They brought a placard saying "Fridays for Future" written on it.

"Fridays for Future" is a youth environmental group, inspired by the work of activist Greta Thunberg.

Orla told ITV News: "I'm here so that the government will change the rules and make the world better... a better place to live."

"I believe they can do that."

Layn told ITV News she feels like her voice is being heard by the government, but they don't want to hear it.


Layn says she is protesting so that the government - and people around the world - make a difference for her future.

"We're tomorrow's generation and we want to help fight for our future if [world leaders] aren't going to", she said.

She told ITV News she just wants something to happen, but feels like governments are ignoring young voices.

"I think [my voice] is being heard, I just don't know if they want to hear it", she said.

Alongside her friends, she said: "I'm excited to be hearing the crowd but I really hope something happens".

14-year-old Finlay said COP26 is the most important moment in the history of our species.

Finlay Pringle

14-year-old Finlay is wearing a shark mask to the climate march - a nod to the threat climate change poses to sea life.

The young activist - who recently attended a climate march in Lausanne, Switzerland, told ITV News COP26 is the most important thing there will be in the history of our species.

"Currently our government is going in the opposite direction they need to, with HS2 and Cambo oil fields hopefully we'll see some real action from COP26."

Finlay counts many of the young activists alongside him in Glasgow as his friends - including Greta Thunberg.

"At the end of the day, [Greta] doesn't want to be here", he said.

"But she is the face of the movement, she is the leader of it. She may hate it but that's the truth", he added.

"It's very hard to have that burden on your shoulders".

Sam (left) and Ellice (right) say world leaders aren't doing enough to tackle climate change.

Sam and Ellice

Sam and Ellice are protesting with a sign saying "Ça va mal" - the French for "it's going badly".

Sam told ITV News he is marching for a brighter future, and for future generations.

"I want to bring children into a world they can survive in," he said.

Sam and Ellice held up a sign saying "Ça va mal", which means "it's going badly" in French.

Ellice said she hopes the march will force world leaders to do more on climate change.

"Hopefully this starts a chain revolution for world leaders to realise what they’re doing isn’t enough", she said.

Sapna (pictured) was protesting with a sign that reads: 'net zero not zero'.


As well as children, parents are marching alongside their children in Glasgow today. ITV News spoke to some parents who say they are protesting to protect the future of their children.

One parent, Sapna, said she is marching to raise people's hopes and to show solutions come from the people, rather the world leaders who she says aren't doing enough.

"What's happening at COP26 has nothing to do with helping the people who are most affected right now", she said.

"People need to take to the streets to express their dissatisfaction. It's all hot air".

Sam (centre) is protesting for the future of his kids.

Another parent, Sam, said: “I’m here for my kids. We have to put right what we’ve done to them."

Sam held a placard that read 'COPOUT26'.

Some protesters brought their pets to the march.


Pets were also well-represented at today's march, with many protesters bringing their dogs. Many of those in attendance today in Glasgow are vegan.

Some pet-owners at the march fed kept their dogs on vegan diets. Pet ownership can be bad for the environment, with many pet foods containing meat and other products that have a high carbon footprint.

Greta Thunberg is herself vegan. The activist has previously urged people to consider the “thoughts and feelings” of animals raised for food, and has spoken out against factory farms, where animals are held in cramped conditions.