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Boy, 11, walking 200 miles to raise awareness of climate change

Written by on August 3, 2021

An 11-year-old activist is walking 200 miles from his home in Yorksh to London in a bid to raise awareness of climate change.

Jude Walker, from Hebden Bridge, is doing the challenge to drive support for a petition to introduce a nationwide carbon tax.

He set off on Sunday 25 July and is walking 10 miles a day until 14 August to achieve the feat.

“I wanted to raise awareness for a carbon tax,” Jude said.

Jude Walker is walking from Yorkshire to London to raise awareness of climate change
Image: Jude Walker is walking from Yorkshire to London to raise awareness of climate change

“I decided I wanted to do a walk because that seemed achievable, I had been doing lots of long walks because of lockdown.”

He will be completing the big walk alongside his mothers in a campervan, which they chose instead of staying in hotels to avoid the risk of needing to isolate due to COVID-19.

The 11-year-old will also be joined by MPs Holly Lynch of Halifax and Ben Everitt of Milton Keynes as he walks through their respective constituencies on his journey to London.

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He said the government “hasn’t done enough for climate change in general, but also not for carbon tax because they seem to just be sticking with their Emissions Trading Scheme and Climate Change Levy”.

“I would definitely prefer a full carbon tax, that’s why we’re doing this petition.”

Jude said he has been inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, as well as teen environmental campaigner Dara McAnulty.

Jude said: “It’s really been in lockdown that I’ve become aware of climate change.

“Dara McAnulty, he wrote a book that was his diary called Diary of a Young Naturalist, and that really inspired me to go on more walks and made me appreciate nature, which is why I decided to do a long walk (for the challenge)”.

His mother, Sarah Courtney, said the walking challenge was his idea and the whole family is “very, very proud” of him.

“He’s really switched on and articulate, the whole of this was his idea,” she said.

Jude hopes his efforts will gain support for a Zero Carbon Campaign petition launched in February urging the government to implement charges on carbon emissions, which now has more than 47,000 signatures.

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Hannah Dillon, head of the Zero Carbon Campaign, said: “We are truly blown away by Jude’s support of our campaign, and his resolve and determination to hold political leaders to account with regards to their climate commitments.

“At 11 years old, he understands better than most adults the severity of the climate and ecological emergency, and the imperative need to implement effective, economy-wide solutions to address it.”

“He was just really determined. We did a 10-mile walk and that wasn’t a problem, then we did four 10 mile walks in a row and that wasn’t a problem… we felt that we should support him.

“We’re very, very proud of him obviously.”

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