The march came as exclusive polling for The Independent showed that a majority of Britons backed radical action on climate change. Six out of 10 supported spending tens of billions to slash greenhouse gas emissions.
Becky Burchell, a 29-year-old mother of two from Dorset, said her family’s plans for the future had massively changed in response to the climate crisis.
“We’ve moved to the countryside to a small village and my job is now focused around how the arts can help tackle the problem around climate change,” she said. “It’s made me reprioritise what’s important.”
Other parents emphasised the need for the government to take decisive action on climate change.
Matt Colnell, 52-year-old father of three from Derbyshire, said: “What we need is for the powers that be to come together and put us on a serious footing to do something serious about our futures.
“It can’t be piecemeal, it can’t be voluntary – we need global action and we need it now.”
Don Burgess, a 51-year-old doctor from London, said: “For my kids, if they’re going to survive and have any quality of life, we need to make changes. A lot of what we’re doing now, we know how to make it better but we need to have the political will to actually make it better.”
And Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, who daughter Ella died from an asthma attack believed to be linked to air pollution in London, said: ”Business as usual – toxic pollution in our streets and our schools – is fuelling a crisis that is making our kids sick and it is families in the deprived areas that are paying the heaviest price.”
Ms Huq also addressed the crowds at the rally, and said: “The reason we are here is because of the youth strikes – the young people have been putting us to shame and it’s time for us adults to take responsibility.”
The Mother’s Rise Up protest comes weeks after the Extinction Rebellion movement brought parts of London to a standstill to demand action on climate change and MPs voted to declare a climate emergency.
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who has inspired worldwide school strikes, also visited London last month and condemned the government’s support for fossil fuels and airport expansion as “beyond absurd”.
And on Saturday, health secretary Matt Hancock named dirty air as the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK and warned of a growing national health emergency triggered by the “slow and deadly poison” of air pollution.
He announced that he had commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to carry out a review of the impact of air pollution on the UK’s health.