Jamie Hunter is a co-founder of the Nelson chapter of Fridays for Future and of the Canadian branch of Stop Ecocide. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Jamie Hunter is a co-founder of the Nelson chapter of Fridays for Future and of the Canadian branch of Stop Ecocide. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson man named one of Canada’s top 25 environmentalists under 25

Jamie Hunter, 20, has already co-founded two organizations

Twenty-year-old Jamie Hunter of Nelson has been named one of the top 25 youth environmental activists in the country by The Starfish, a national youth-led organization that supports young activists.

He was surprised to be selected.

“I’m not sure exactly what made them pick me,” he says. “I remember saying to people, ‘What have I done that’s so special?’”

This modest response is typical of Hunter’s unassuming approach to big problems.

He is a co-founder of two organizations: the Nelson chapter of Fridays for Future and Stop Ecocide Canada. The latter is the Canadian branch of an international organization whose stated purpose is to “make large-scale and systematic destruction of nature” an international crime.

“It would basically go alongside genocide and war crimes,” Hunter says.

He is unfazed by the size of this ambition and at the same time he does not seem to be naive about what this would take.

“It’s a big undertaking,” he says. “But I believe we can do it.”

Asked what he will be doing in five years, Hunter says he will still be busy helping to make the mass destruction of nature a crime that can be tried in the International Criminal Court.

The Canadian chapter of Stop Ecocide is attempting to get the support of the federal government, one MP at a time. Hunter has met with MPs from all parties and he thinks a private members bill is in the works.

He’s also had discussions with a number of high level officials at the federal global affairs and justice departments.

When he was 18, just out of high school, Hunter had his first inkling that he wanted to get active on environmental issues.

“I was learning about fracking, which really got me interested. I remember learning exactly how that process works, and how devastating it is to the earth. And I thought, no, that’s just a step too far. OK. Do something.”

Nelson’s Fridays for Future group is part of the international organization of student strikers inspired by Greta Thunberg.

Hunter was one of the organizers of its climate strike and march in 2019 that attracted 1,000 people to downtown Nelson, and another on the orange bridge this year that attracted 110 people despite bad weather and the pandemic.

“It was very exciting. Just the build-up to it, and the momentum around it, and then other people kind of outside our group began to get involved and spread the word, and posters appeared around town, just the people drawing them by hand.”

Hunter was invited as a youth delegate to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, before it was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Many of the members of Nelson’s Fridays for Future are several years younger than Hunter, and he respects them.

“It’s important that we recognize everyone’s contribution,” he says, adding that too often we focus on one person or one leader.

“I think it’s really important to shift away from that a bit and recognize everyone.”

Hunter says he thinks older people are listening to youth on environmental issues more than a few years ago.

Kyle Empringham of Vancouver, one of the founders of The Starfish, agrees.

“I do genuinely believe it’s getting better,” he says. “Greta Thunberg has been a beacon of opportunity and possibility for a lot of young folks … I think that people are understanding how youth voices matter.

“And so every time I look at our list [of the top 25 youth activists], I recognize that it’s beautiful, and that people are approaching problems in very creative and different ways.”

Wouldn’t it just be easier for Hunter to ignore it all? Doesn’t focusing on these weighty issues take its toll?

No, he says.

“It feels quite natural. I have found that I feel a lot better. Otherwise, without taking action, it’s easy to slip into just despair.”

He thinks the voting age should be lowered, to properly recognize the often-underestimated ideas and intelligence of young people. Asked what the new voting age should be, his response is characteristically understated and soft-spoken.

“I think 16 would be reasonable.”

Related:

Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

Youth climate march lines Nelson’s bridge

Nelson youth climate strikers reach 53 weeks, plan public event Sept. 25



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read