Mt. Sentinel students were inspired to take environmental matters into their own hands after their first annual Sustainability Day, and they’re hoping schools across the country will join in the #WeAreReady campaign.
“Canada’s rank on the environmental performance index is 24th out of 178, falling below Greece. This is a considerable feat considering Greece’s recent economic troubles,” Grade 12 student Petra Hartley told the Star.
“Our first goal is to get Trudeau’s attention on both us and focused on the environment. Secondly we would want to see action, whether that means protecting more of Canada’s wildlife and wildlife habitats or stricter regulations around Canada’s carbon footprint.”
Their correspondence to Trudeau includes 15 demands, including that the shift to renewable energy “begin now” with a goal of having a 100 per cent clean economy by 2050.
“The time for energy democracy has come: wherever possible, communities should collectively control new energy systems,” the students wrote.
“Indigenous peoples and others on the frontlines of polluting industrial activity should be the first to receive public support for their own clean energy projects.”
The demands also call “austerity” a “fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat to life on Earth”.
“The money we need to pay for this great transformation is available—we just need the right policies to release it.”
Hartley believes with the proper support they can make a real difference in the growing climate crisis.
“We want the education and the resources that would enable us to take action and make change.”
To demonstrate their commitment to these issues, Mt. Sentinel students have created a large tapestry in support of the Leap Manifesto, a “call for a Canada based on caring for the Earth and one another”.
“I was part of the Leap Tapestry project,” said Grade 9 student Aliyah Brosgart. “If we all work together we can make a change.”
Grade 10 student Uriel Milligan was most moved by the plight of grizzly bears during Sustainability Day, and hopes more people will sign a circulating petition to protect biodiversity.
“I want to raise awareness that these animals, like grizzly bears and whales, are at risk of extinction because their habitats are threatened.”
And Grade 12 student Alexandra Ostrikoff believes everyone should be pitching in.
“We are all living on this planet, therefore we all have a right to breath clean air, drink clean water and consume safe food,” she said.
For more information on the Leap Manifesto visit leapmanifesto.org.