Jude Walker – Carbon Tax Walk from Hebden Bridge to London

Jude Walker, who lives in Hebden Bridge wanted to promote a petition on the Introduction of Carbon Tax and deliver it to The Prime Minister in London.  He walked 230 miles over 21 days with friends, families and supporters and finally delivered the petition on Saturday 14th August after 3 weeks of some gruelling walking.  

Slow The Flow asked Jude, who is just 11 years old. about what motivated him and why he got involved in activism, here is his story…………………..

“I first really grasped the impact of climate change about two years ago, when I read a book called Dire Predictions, which shows the findings of the IPCC, and, in addition to making the consequences clear, it named reforestation and carbon taxation as the main solutions.

It made me read more on climate change and the more I read, the more I wanted to make a difference, so, after listening to a Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, I decided to do a small protest in St Georges Square in Hebden Bridge, against peat burning, but I wanted to do more. A few days later I rediscovered carbon taxation and found out that none of my friends, parents or teachers had heard of this vital thing. 

I researched about our current Emissions Trading Scheme and realised only a third of emissions were being taxed, then followed citation links on Wikipedia to find out how the negative impacts of a carbon tax could be averted (eg inequality driven by higher prices averted by a carbon dividend). 

I decided to support the Zero Carbon Campaign’s petition for a carbon tax (or carbon pricing) by walking to London. We planned to walk ten miles a day for 21 days, staying in a borrowed camper van outside friends or friends of friends or at campsites. I gave lots of interviews to the BBC, Unilad, Times Radio, Sky, the Yorkshire Post, AP, Reuters and many more to raise publicity for the walk, the petition and climate change in general. 

I planned the overall route using Google Maps, but then use other apps for each segment’s detailed walk, meaning we walked an average of 11 miles a day. I also spoke with seven MPs and one member of the House of Lords, and the head of OVO energy/founder of the Zero Carbon Campaign. With the help of my parents, I also put out social media posts so people could follow my progress. 

Everyday there came a point where I just wanted to give up (excluding the final day) but day six and day 20 were particularly hard. On day six, I was walking with some friends from Hebden Bridge who had come down to meet me when a storm came down on us. After seven miles of this, we were walking through the middle of a wheatfield when the path just stopped, causing us to wade through the tall, wet wheat and scramble across a steep, shrubbery filled ditch on the other side. We then finished with a stint of brambles up to our chests before we reached Bolsover, at which point we gave up, despite being several miles short of our intended destination. This meant we had to walk further the next day, but at least it was dry. On day 20, despite crossing the M25 five minutes into our walk, we frustratingly remained in rural Hertfordshire. 

I delivered a letter to the Prime Minister at Downing Street urging him to introduce a carbon tax. I also helped to bring the petition to 108,000 signatures, enough for it to be debated in parliament. I also helped raise awareness about carbon taxation, so hopefully more people now know what a carbon tax is and how it can help reduce carbon emissions by helping shift big companies away from using technology that emits lots of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases and towards lower carbon technologies. 

I feel immensely amazed that I managed to do the walk, and help get the signatures needed, and I want to tell others that if you want something changed you can make a difference, especially if you set a date or timescale for your action. It is worth at least trying”. 

Slow The Flow is hugely impressed by Jude and we are delighted that he made this trip.  It is great to see young people like Jude taking on challenges like this to highlight issues relating to climate change.

Slow The Flow believes that climate change is affecting our rainfall and flooding patterns and is keen to support those addressing the causes of climate change, as well as those using techniques such as NFM and SuDS to combat its effects.

We enthusiastically welcome all who volunteer with us, or take an interest in our subject, but none more so than the next generation.