Students at a recent school strike in Vancouver. Photo submitted

Student climate strikes come to Nelson

Students will skip school March 4


School climate strikes are coming to the West Kootenay, inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish 16-year-old who has spearheaded a wave of student strikes in Europe and North America.

Local students will be joining the tens of thousands of youth around the world who have been striking in recent months. The local school strike will be held outside of Nelson City Hall on March 4 between noon and 3 p.m.

“I felt compelled to do something because I think it is time we start seeing larger and more immediate changes within our local communities,” says Daniela Sirois Ennis, 16, one of the organizers. “There are no excuses as to why change couldn’t start tomorrow.”

“By the year 2050, I will only be 47,” she says. ”It is absurd that we should have to wait so long to achieve our climate goals.We cannot afford to wait any longer to solve such consequential problems, while they are growing larger by the day.”

Alyssa Taburiaux, 19, is also an organizer of the event.

“The IPCC report that came out last October was clear and terrifying,” she says.

“Scientists are telling us that we have less than 12 years to cut our emissions in half if we want to avoid catastrophic change. Everyone will be impacted, especially the younger generations.”

Ennis and Taburiaux first met at the multi-day YOUth LEADing the World Congress held at Selkirk College in October, 2017. The conference focused on inspiring youth to take positive action in their community.

They are asking Nelson and area youth to bring signs and positive energy to the gathering. Many of the strikes around the world are taking place on Fridays using the hashtag #FridaysforFuture.

Local climate strikers are planning the Nelson strike for a Monday because Nelson city council plans to discuss the urgency of climate change during their meeting later that day. The organizers have requested a meeting with the mayor on the day of their strike so they can discuss why they are skipping school to raise awareness about the climate crisis.

Meanwhile, Thunberg is getting support and criticism worldwide.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said children on school strikes are “wasting lesson time,” to which Thunberg replied “That may well be the case. But then again, political leaders have wasted 30 years of inaction. And that is slightly worse.”

A nation-wide school strike is slated for May 3.

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