Florence Dewhurst


As I wait for Christmas 2020, I’m reminded that usually, things wouldn’t be this quiet.

Apart from the fact that I’m now in TY and don’t have as many exams, I’m also feeling the loss of the panto chaos that would normally govern my life at this time of year.

It’s strange not to be taking part in a million different shows right now – and also very sad. As much as rehearsing takes up most of my free time, I still miss it terribly.

One of the projects I’m doing in TY is producing a short film as part of our film class. Our group started shooting our film on Saturday.

From actors to make-up artists, everyone has a job on ‘set’. I’ve had lots of experience with acting before, but mostly on stage; being filmed on camera was a completely different feeling.

I’m playing a main character in our film, and it was quite testing of my acting ability. I had to deliver a fairly emotional monologue at the end, and I’m honestly quite scared to watch it back!

Acting and performing is a real passion of mine, as I’ve mentioned once or twice before – but so too is the issue of Climate Change. It dominates my mind daily.

In September of 2019, one of my friends started telling me about a strike for climate action that was happening in Cork. I’m not going to lie; I didn’t know much about it, but I knew it was a big issue, so I went along, hoping I’d learn something.

It was a normal Friday at school, as we headed off on the bus, massive protest posters in hand, feeling slightly clueless. The turn out and energy that day was astonishing.

Everywhere I looked, there were people, teenagers, all willing to change their actions and speak up about climate change. The feeling of empowerment, as well as the urge to make a real difference, was overwhelming. The realisation dawned on me that I couldn’t allow myself to go on and not care about how my actions were impacting our world.

I went to another climate action strike in November, much more educated than I had been at the first one. I had planned to go to more of these, especially in TY, but of course, Covid-19 intervened.

Right after I went to my first strike, I decided to become vegetarian for environmental purposes.

I can’t tell you how many people every week tell me that they ‘could never do that’ and wonder ‘how do you live without meat?!’

I’m fortunate that my parents are very supportive and were also willing to make changes in their own diets. Mam has tried cooking several new vegetarian recipes, some of which are more successful than others!

However, I do occasionally get cravings if my entire family are digging into a Sunday roast and I’m left to eat two dreaded vegetarian sausages (which I only tolerate when drowned in ketchup).

My friend who went to both climate change strikes with me is also a vegetarian, so I feel a lot of support there as well.

On the flip side, I understand that there are some people who eat meat in every meal, and would be ‘lost without it’.

Always looking for an excuse to have a bit of chicken, I decided that I wouldn’t be vegetarian for the two weeks surrounding Christmas. Or for my birthday. Or any really special occasions… I’ll admit, being a vegetarian is pretty hard sometimes!

I’m anxious to know which of the stages the country will go into next week, as my birthday is coming up and I’d love to be able to do something with my friends altogether.

I’m hoping, and praying, that we’ll be going into Level 2 so that the restaurants will be open so I can enjoy a tasty non-meat option!

Florence Dewhurst is a TY student at Loreto Secondary School, Fermoy