As winter descends, many of us look forward to our daily cup of coffee while sitting by a warm fire. It is a simple pleasure that eludes millions of Syrian refugees as winter becomes an additional threat to their survival. The stark contrast sparked one Nelson teen into action.
“One half of registered refugees are children or youth,” explained Micah May. “Tens of thousands have become separated from their parents making them even more vulnerable to violence and abuse. That could be me except I was lucky enough to have been born in Canada.”
May enlisted friends and retired foresters to spend a day cutting, splitting and hauling firewood from logs donated by Smokey Creek Woodlot and Gold Island Forest Products. They got drenched by cold rain, but raised $1,000.
He then approached Kootenay Woodstoves and Oso Negro Coffee, who turned $1,000 into $1,700. The federal government is matching donations for Syrian refugees until Dec. 31 so the tally has grown to $3,400.
May is concerned this current refugee crisis will not be the last in his lifetime. For the past two years, he has volunteered with a team of scientists from the University of Northern BC who are studying the impacts of climate change on local glaciers.
“Climate change is real and will bring added stress to parts of the world already reeling from conflict,” said May. “Mass movements of people could become more frequent.”
“I see myself as a global citizen with a responsibility to support members of my community, whether they live in Nelson or Syria. We do what we can and, working together with friends and businesses, hopefully our efforts will help a family through the difficult winter months ahead.”
Something to think about the next time we settle in with a cup of coffee by the fire.